The university is committed to respecting the wishes of those who choose to report anonymously and will pursue steps to mitigate the effects of the alleged harassment or misconduct and prevent its recurrence. However, in certain cases where anonymous reports contain information about significant threats to the health and safety of an individual or the campus community, the University may take steps to attempt to identify the source of the report.
Under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972: 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. While Title IX is a very short statute, Supreme Court decisions and guidance from the U.S. Department of Education have given it a broad scope covering sexual harassment and sexual violence.
The University’s Policy on Discrimination, Harassment and Sexual Misconduct (“Policy”) reflects the protections enumerated in Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. You may view the Policy here.
Equal Employment Opportunity
Equal opportunity in employment is governed by a variety of federal laws. The major applicable federal laws are Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Equal Pay Act, and the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA). Collectively, these laws prohibit discrimination in all terms and conditions of employment – including hiring, compensation, training, promotion, and termination – based on race, ethnicity, color, national origin, sex, disability, veteran status, and age. The majority of these laws are enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, more commonly known as the EEOC.
In addition to the laws mentioned above, equal opportunity in higher education is also governed by Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. Like their employment law counterparts, these laws collectively prohibit discrimination in educational programs or activities based on race, national origin, and sex. These laws are enforced by a division of the Department of Education known as the Office for Civil Rights (OCR).
What is Title IX?
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (“Title IX”) is a federal law that protects individuals from sex discrimination in any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance. A wide range of sexual misconduct behaviors can contribute to or result in sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, stalking and other forms of prohibited conduct of a sexual nature. Franciscan University’s Policy on Discrimination, Harassment and Sexual Misconduct (“Policy”) contains definitions of these terms.
Alleged violations of the Policy on Discrimination, Harassment and Sexual Misconduct are encouraged to be reported directly to the Title IX/EEO Coordinator or to one of the Deputy Title IX/EEO Coordinators. Individuals may use the Online Formal Complaint Form, or schedule an appointment with the Title IX/EEO Coordinator, Title IX/EEO Investigator, or to one of the Deputy Title IX/EEO Coordinators to report an incident.
In the event a complainant requests that his or her name or other identifiable information not be shared with the respondent, or requests that the University take no formal action in response to a report, the Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee) shall evaluate such request and notify such individual of the University’s response to such request. If the University honors the request for confidentiality, the University’s ability to meaningfully investigate the incident and pursue disciplinary action against a respondent may be limited. The University will consider the complainant’s request to the extent possible based on a careful evaluation of a range of factors, which include but are not limited to, any legal reporting requirements, the risk of harm to any individual and the University’s duty to maintain a safe and non-discriminatory environment for all. complainant confidentiality, the Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee) will attempt to inform the complainant and will limit the information shared to those with a need to know in order to handle the University’s response.
Reporting to University Employees
All Franciscan University employees (which include all faculty, staff, and administrators) are considered “responsible employees” for purposes of this policy, unless they fall under “Confidential Reporting.” Under this policy, responsible employees are obligated to promptly report actual or suspected discrimination, harassment or sexual misconduct to one of the appropriate University officials.
Anonymous reporting does not satisfy this mandatory reporting obligation. Prompt reporting is necessary to assure that the matter is handled promptly and appropriately by trained personnel and that appropriate corrective and remedial actions may be taken as warranted, including supportive measures. Prompt reporting of such incidents enhances the ability of the University to promptly remedy violations of this policy and to prevent their recurrence.
The information reported should include all relevant details about the alleged incident that a student or another person has shared with the responsible employee, including the names of the alleged perpetrator (if known), the student or other member of the campus community who experienced the alleged misconduct, others involved in the incident as well as the date, time and location of the incident.
Before a person reveals this type of information to a responsible employee, the responsible employee should make every effort to ensure that the person understands the employee’s reporting obligation and the person’s option to request that the University maintain his or her confidentiality (which request would be considered by the Title IX/EEO Coordinator or designee), and the person’s ability to share the information confidentially with certain individuals on campus (such as the counselors in the Franciscan University Counseling Center and priests) or with off-campus sexual assault resource centers, advocates, and health care providers.
Reporting to Law Enforcement
Because sexual misconduct may constitute both a violation of this policy and criminal laws, the University encourages individuals to report alleged criminal sexual misconduct to law enforcement agencies. Although individuals are encouraged to notify law enforcement agencies, they are not required to do so. Whether or not an individual who has been subjected to sexual misconduct chooses to pursue criminal charges externally, they have the right to pursue an internal complaint under this policy, regardless of the status of any external proceedings. As such, a complainant may seek recourse under this policy and/or pursue criminal action. Law enforcement’s determination of whether or not to prosecute a respondent, nor the outcome of any criminal prosecution, is determinative of whether a violation of University policy has occurred.
The University will assist a complainant, at the complainant’s request, in contacting local law enforcement and will cooperate with law enforcement agencies if a complainant decides to pursue the criminal process. In addition, the University will assist an alleged victim of sexual misconduct, who is interested, in obtaining a protection/restraining order from a court of law. If a complainant obtains such a court order, Campus Security will enforce the court order on campus.
The investigation and proceedings under this policy may be carried out prior to, simultaneously with, or following any external civil or criminal proceedings occurring off-campus. At the request of law enforcement, the University may agree to defer its fact gathering for a brief period during the initial evidence-gathering stage of a criminal investigation. The University will nevertheless communicate with the complainant regarding support, options for resolution and the implementation of interim measures to address concerns regarding their safety and well-being. The University may also take immediate and prompt steps that it deems necessary to protect the University community. The University will promptly resume its fact gathering as soon as it is informed that law enforcement has completed its initial investigation.
If an individual wishes the details of an incident to be kept confidential, the individual can speak with the following confidential resources:
Confidential Advocates at Franciscan University of Steubenville.
Ordained priests, ordained deacons, ordained ministers, and religious sisters and brothers who are operating in that role (or in their role at Franciscan University as a chaplain, pastoral minister or pastoral associate) and are recognized by a religious order or denomination as someone who provides confidential pastoral counseling or spiritual direction.
Certified spiritual directors located at Franciscan University who are operating in that role and are recognized by the University as someone who provides confidential spiritual direction.
Licensed professional counselors at the Franciscan University Counseling Center and counseling interns working under the supervision of a licensed professional counselor.
Health service providers at the Franciscan University Health Center.
Off-campus licensed professional counselors.
Off-campus sexual assault and domestic violence counselors, sexual assault centers, victim advocacy offices, women’s centers, and health centers.
Eileen Spencer, Advocate, Franciscan University
Phone: (740) 283-4339
Office Location: 1412 Parkview Circle (Assisi Heights)
Franciscan University Counseling Center
Phone: (740) 284-7217
Location: Finnegan Fieldhouse
Franciscan University Chaplain’s Office
Phone: (740) 283-6276
Location: Christ the King Chapel
Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence
Phone: (888) 886-8388
National Sexual Assault Hotline
Phone: (800) 656-HOPE
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Phone: (800) 799-SAFE
Confidential Resources in Austria
Franciscan University Pastoral Ministry
Phone: +43 7485 98678 14
Dr. Mark Shats, Licensed Clinical Psychologist
Phone: +43 (0) 660.575.3062
If someone other than a University responsible employee wants to make a report of discrimination, harassment or sexual misconduct on his or her behalf or on behalf of another person, but wishes to remain anonymous, you may do so by completing a secure Anonymous Online Form. This information will then be sent to the Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee) for review and appropriate response and action. It is important to understand that if you choose to file an anonymous report, the University’s ability to investigate, respond or take further action may be limited by the level of information available about the incident or individuals involved.
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month
Bystander Intervention is a strategy to prevent various types of abusive behavior. Bystanders play an important role in promoting a culture of respect. Even though our in-person community interactions are currently limited because of COVID-19, we believe it is still important to remind our community about bystander interventions.
Intervene Simply and Safely:
Provide a distraction that interrupts the situation.
Tell someone else and get help.
Pull one of the parties aside and speak with him or her.
If you see someone in a difficult situation, offer to assist him or her in leaving.
If your friend is intoxicated, remove him or her from the situation.
Call 911, contact Campus Security (740-283-6333), or other authorities.
Some ways to create distraction to interrupt a potentially dangerous situation:
Join the conversation.
Make an excuse to separate those involved.
Turn off the music.
Spill something on purpose.
Pull your friend away from the situation and leave.
Call your friend’s cell phone repeatedly.
Be a proactive bystander:
Create a plan to look out for friends when at parties.
Talk with your friends about ways to intervene.
If you see something, say something!
Treat all people with respect.
Promote chastity and moral living.
Know the campus resources that are available.
Don’t laugh at inappropriate comments.
Challenge inappropriate language and behavior.
Participate in programs offered on campus.
Encourage friends to report and seek help if they have experienced sexual misconduct.
Speak up when you hear others making inappropriate sexual jokes or remarks.
Ways to take Responsibility for Your Safety:
Be aware of your surroundings and who is present at all times.
Trust your instincts. If you do not feel safe – leave!
Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you find yourself in a situation that makes you uncomfortable.
Walk with others, especially after dark and in isolated areas.
Lock the doors and windows in your car and residence hall.
Have your keys in hand when approaching your car or residence hall.
Don’t leave a drink unattended.
Set clear boundaries that respect your moral choices.
Drink responsibly. Know your limits. Acknowledge that alcohol can lower your inhibitions and make you more vulnerable.
CAMPUS SECURITY ESCORTS
Students may request a campus security guard to provide a foot escort from a campus parking lot or building to another parking lot or building. Students should contact the Office of Campus Security at 740-283-6333 to request a security escort.
REPORTING SEXUAL VIOLENCE
Sexual violence is a violation of the Code of Student Conduct and University Policy. The University strongly encourages any student who has experienced sexual violence/assault either on or off campus to report the incident immediately. Reports can be made to the Title IX/EEO Coordinator, Title IX Investigator, one of the Deputy Title IX Coordinators, one of the Confidential Advocates, or to a University employee. All University employees (except professional counselors in the University Counseling Center, Confidential Advocates, priests, pastoral associates, pastoral ministers, and chaplains) are mandatory reporters and are required to inform John Pizzuti, Title IX/EEO Coordinator, and/or Ann Booth, Title IX/EEO Investigator, who will oversee the investigation into any reported complaint of sexual violence/assault.
To make a report of discrimination, harassment or sexual misconduct, please contact:
Title IX/EEO Coordinator (Ann Booth) ………….. 740.283.4338
Deputy Title IX/EEO Coordinators:
Alexis Basil ………………………………………..…………740.284.5810
Dr. Joanne Storm………………………………………… 740.284.5359
CONFIDENTIAL REPORTING & SUPPORT
If a student wishes the details of an incident to be kept confidential or are in need of support, they may contact the professional counselors in the University Counseling Center, priests, pastoral associates, pastoral ministers, chaplains, off-campus sexual assault resource centers, on- campus Confidential Advocates, and health care providers. These confidential resources will honor confidentiality unless: (a) there is an extreme case of clear and imminent danger to the individual or to others; (b) suspected abuse of a minor; or (c) there is another basis for disclosure permitted or required by law. In such cases, the confidential resource must contact the necessary authorities. However, an individual’s disclosure during the Sacrament of Reconciliation (confession) will not be revealed by the priest for any reason, which is a protected obligation upheld by law.
Students who wish to confidentially report an incident or need support may contact:
Eileen Spencer, Advocate, Franciscan University
Phone: 740.283.4339 (available 24/7)
Office Location: Assisi Heights, Bldg. 1412
Franciscan University Counseling Center 740.284.7217
Location: Finnegan Fieldhouse
Franciscan University Chaplain’s Office 740.283.6276
Location: Christ the King Chapel
ALIVE, Inc. 740.512.6092 (Sexual Violence Advocacy 24 Hour Hotline)
CHANGE, Inc. 304.797.7233
Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence 888.886.8388
National Sexual Assault Hotline 800.656.HOPE
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence 800.799-SAFE
A student who reports an incident of sexual violence/assault may request interim accommodations such as a change in a living, working or academic schedule. The University will honor these requests as long as they are reasonably available.
Does Title IX apply to everyone?
Yes, Title IX protects and holds accountable faculty, staff, students, visitors, and other third parties. The 2020 Department of Education federal regulations require specific sexual misconduct grievance procedures for both employees and students.
How do the new 2020 Title IX regulations change things at the University?
The federal regulations require the University to address sexual misconduct allegations using a specific investigation and adjudication process. The University will continue to address all complaints of sexual misconduct and will assess formal complaints to determine if the University Policy and/or federal regulations apply. When these federal regulations apply, the adjudication will include a live hearing with oral cross-examination of the parties and witnesses.
What conduct is prohibited by the new 2020 Title IX regulations?
The new federal regulations amended the definition of sexual harassment to include only unwelcome conduct that is so severe, pervasive, and objectionably offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the University. Beyond sexual harassment, federally defined prohibited conduct includes sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking. Review the University’s Policy for full definitions of conduct that is subject to the federal regulations grievance resolution procedures.
In addition to meeting one or more of these definitions, for the new Title IX regulations to apply, the conduct must have happened in the United States, in conjunction with a University program or activity, or in a building owned or controlled by the University or a recognized student organization. Finally, the complainant must be a current student, employee, applicant, or otherwise participating in a University program or activity.
If the alleged sexual misconduct is not covered by the new 2020 Title IX regulations (e.g., study abroad, private locations off campus, non-affiliated parties of the University, etc.), will the University still investigate?
Yes. The University will continue to address all complaints of sexual misconduct and will assess formal complaints to determine if the University Policy and/or federal regulations apply. If you make a formal complaint, the Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee) will assess which policies may or may not apply, and if an investigation is initiated, what procedures will be used.
If the alleged violation for sexual misconduct does not meet the new jurisdictional requirements for Title IX, the matter may be referred to the respective University Vice President (for Student Life, Human Resources and/or Academic Affairs) to address the sexual misconduct allegation in accordance with the applicable student, employee or faculty handbook; however, the Grievance Resolution Process set forth in the University’s Policy will be utilized in determining responsibility.
Is the University changing their definitions under Title IX?
Yes. The University has incorporated the mandatory definitions from the new Title IX regulations, including the definitional change made to sexual harassment. The additional categories of sexual harassment under Title IX which may be investigated are sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking.
What evidentiary standard will the University use?
The University will continue to use the preponderance of the evidence standard in evaluating Title IX cases.
What is the University’s timeline on Title IX investigations?
The University has slightly adjusted its timeline to bring all allegations to a prompt resolution within a reasonable period of time not to exceed ninety (90) calendar days from receipt of the original complaint through the grievance resolution process up to and including appeal, which can be extended as necessary for good cause by the Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee) with written notice to the parties with an explanation for the delay or extension.
Will the University still offer supportive measures and resources to involved parties who experience sexual misconduct?
Yes. Involved parties affiliated with the University will still be afforded supportive measures and have access to campus and off campus resources even if the complaint is dismissed under the Title IX grievance resolution procedure due to failure to meet jurisdictional requirements.
How do the new 2020 Title IX regulations impact respondents?
If a formal complaint about a respondent (the alleged perpetrator) includes alleged conduct subject to the federal regulations, both parties will receive written notice of the allegations; the University’s Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee) will investigate; complainants and respondents will be given access to evidence in advance of a hearing; there will be a hearing in front of a trained decision-maker(s) where parties and witnesses are subject to live oral cross-examination; and the complainant and respondent will have the right to appeal the results of the decision made at the hearing.
What is the University’s definition of consent?
While all sexual contact outside the covenant of marriage is inconsistent with Catholic teaching and the University’s values, for purposes of determining whether sexual misconduct has occurred, “consent” is defined as a clear, knowing and voluntary agreement to engage in a specific sexual activity. Consent requires an affirmative act or statement by each participant. All the surrounding circumstances are to be considered in determining whether a person gave consent.
The following information is critical to understanding consent to sexual activity:
• Consent to some sexual acts does not imply consent to others, nor does past consent to a given act imply present or future consent.
• Consent cannot be inferred from silence or an absence of resistance.
• Coercion, force, use of fraud, or intimidation, or the threat or any of these, invalidates consent.
• A current or previous romantic, social or sexual relationship with someone, or the manner of dress of the person involved with the accused individual in the conduct at issue, does not imply present or future consent to any form of sexual activity.
• Consent must be ongoing throughout a sexual encounter.
• Consent can be withdrawn at any time by verbal or physical conduct that a reasonable person would understand to indicate a desire to stop or not engage in the sexual conduct at issue.
• Consent to engage in sexual activity with one person does not imply consent to engage in sexual activity with another.
• Effective consent may not exist when there is a disparity of power between the parties (e.g., faculty/student, supervisor/employee).
• A person who is incapacitated cannot consent.
Who are mandatory reporters under the University’s Policy now?
There are no changes to the University’s Policy on mandatory reporters because of the new Title IX regulations. All Franciscan University employees (which include all faculty, staff, administrators and certain designated University student-employees (i.e., those students employed in Admissions/Enrollment Services; as a receptionist in the Office of Student Life; Resident Directors; and Resident Assistants) are considered “responsible employees” and are obligated to promptly report actual or suspected discrimination, harassment or sexual misconduct to one of the appropriate University officials designated in Section III of this policy. Anonymous reporting does not satisfy this mandatory reporting obligation.
What does it mean that involved parties can use informal resolutions (e.g., restorative justice, mediation, etc.) in sexual assault cases, or any other type of Title IX case?
Informal resolution can only be considered if both the Complainant and Respondent agree to participate. No one can or will force a party into an informal resolution and if at any time either party determines they want to go back to the formal investigation process, they can. The University cannot facilitate an informal resolution without that written agreement between both parties. Regardless of the type of Title IX allegation, the University cannot utilize an informal resolution where the Complainant is a student and the Respondent is an employee (faculty/staff). We currently offer informal resolution and that will continue.
Are involved parties permitted to have an advisor during the Title IX process, including the live hearing?
Yes. The University has always recognized and will continue to recognize the right for any involved party to have an advisor and/or support person of their choosing in any portion of the Title IX grievance procedure. In the investigation stage prior to the live hearing, an advisor or support person may not speak for an involved party and the right to use an advisor or support person is optional. The new regulations require that during the live hearing, the Complainant and Respondent must have an advisor present at the hearing to ask cross-examination questions. If either party does not have an advisor, the University must provide one.
All Title IX personnel are committed to promoting and defending the human dignity of all persons as Franciscan University strives to provide a learning, working, and living environment free from all forms of unlawful discrimination, discriminatory or sexual harassment, and all forms of sexual misconduct. Unlawful discrimination, harassment and sexual misconduct subvert the mission of our University, strike against the University’s Catholic and Franciscan values, and threaten the careers, educational experience, and well-being of students, faculty, and staff.
The Title IX/EEO Coordinator is the person designated by the University to monitor and ensure compliance by the University with Title IX. The Title IX/EEO Coordinator is responsible for coordinating the University’s compliance with Title IX, and other related discrimination laws, and serves as the University’s primary administrator for cases alleging misconduct, specifically sexual misconduct, gender-based discrimination, harassment, intimate partner violence, and stalking for students, faculty and staff.
Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Athletics Alexis Basil
Assistant Athletic Director for Compliance and Operations/Senior Woman Administrator
Phone: (740) 284-5810
Location: Finnegan Fieldhouse
Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Faculty Dr. Joanne Storm Gallagher
Professor of Psychology/Chair of the Department of Psychology
Phone: (740) 284-5359
Office Location: Egan Hall
The Deputy Title IX Coordinators are trained and authorized by the Title IX/EEO Coordinator to receive complaints from students, faculty and staff regarding alleged incidents of discrimination, harassment and sexual misconduct.
The Confidential Advocates are available for emergencies 24/7. A Confidential Advocate empowers clients by providing information, tools and resources to assist clients in determining the course of action that best fits their needs under the circumstances. A client may share as much or as little as they feel comfortable. The Confidential Advocate reports directly to the Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee).