Policies & Definitions
Cedar Crest College is committed to creating and maintaining a campus environment where safety, health and well-being are priorities for all. Sexual misconduct includes a variety of acts that are perpetrated against another without consent or when an individual is unable to freely give consent. Acts of sexual misconduct or sex discrimination are not tolerated and may jeopardize a person’s ability to be part of the Cedar Crest College community. Cedar Crest College is committed to fostering a community that promotes prompt reporting of all types of sexual misconduct, and timely and fair resolution of sexual misconduct complaints.
What is Sexual Misconduct?
Sexual Harassment: Unwelcome, sexual or gender-based verbal, written or physical conduct that is, sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive that it, has the effect of unreasonably interfering with, denying or limiting employment opportunities or the ability to participate in or benefit from the College’s educational, social, and/or residential program, and is based on real or reasonably perceived powers differentials (quid pro quo), the creation of a hostile environment or retaliation.
Sexual Assault: This includes any sexual act directed against another person, without the consent of the Complainant, including instances where the Complainant is incapable of giving consent. Sexual Assault may be one of the following categories:
- Sexual Penetration Without Consent: any penetration of the mouth, sex organs, or anus of another person, however slightly by any object or any part of the body, when consent is not given. This includes performing oral sex on another person when consent is not given.
- Sexual Contact Without Consent: knowingly touching or fondling a person’s genitals, breasts, buttocks, or anus, or knowingly touching a person with one’s own genitals or breasts when consent is not present. This includes contact done directly or indirectly through clothing, bodily fluids, or with an object. It also includes causing or inducing a person, when consent is not present, to similarly touch or fondle oneself or someone else.
- Statutory Sexual Assault: the age of consent for sexual activity in Pennsylvania is 16. Minors under the age of 13 cannot consent to sexual activity. Minors aged 13-15 years old cannot consent to sexual activity with anyone is 4 or more years older than they are at the time of the activity. Minors aged 16 years of age or older can legally consent to sexual activity, if the other person does not have authority over them as defined in Pennsylvania’s institutional sexual assault statute (link to PDF).
Sexual Exploitation: Engaging in sexual behaviors directed toward or involving another person or use of another person’s sexuality for purposes of sexual gratification, financial gain, personal gain, or personal advantage when consent is not present. This includes but is not limited to, the following actions, including when they are done via electronic means, methods, or devices.
- Sexual voyeurism or permitting other to witness or observe the sexual or intimate activity of another person without that person’s consent.
- Indecent exposure or inducing others to expose private or intimate parts of the body when consent is not present.
- Recording or distributing information, images or recordings of any person engaged in sexual or intimate activity in a private space without that person’s consent.
- Prostituting another individual.
- Knowingly exposing another individual to a sexually transmitted disease or virus with that individual’s knowledge or consent.
- Inducing incapacitation for the purpose of making another person vulnerable to non-consensual sexual activity.
Stalking: engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to- (a) fear for their safety or the safety of others; or (b) suffer substantial emotional distress. A course of conduct is when a person engages in two or more acts that include, but are not limited to, acts in which the person directly, indirectly, or through third parties, by any method, device, or means, monitors, follows, observes, surveys, threatens, or communicates to or about a person in a prohibited way, or interferes with a person’s property. Stalking includes the concept of cyberstalking, in which electronic media such as the Internet, social networks, blogs, cell phones, texts, email or other similar devices or forms of contact are used to pursue, harass or to make unwelcome contact with another person in an unsolicited fashion.
Dating Violence: any violence committed by a person: (a) who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the complainant, and (b) where the existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of the following factors: (1) the length of the relationship, (2) the type of relationship, and (3) the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship. Dating violence includes but is not limited to, sexual or physical abuse or the threat of such abuse. Dating violence does not include acts covered in the definition of Domestic Violence.
Domestic Violence: any violence committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the complainant, by a person with whom the complainant shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the complainant as a spouse or intimate partner, by a person similarly situation to a spouse of the complainant under Pennsylvania’s domestic or family violence laws or by any other person against an adult or youth complainant who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of Pennsylvania.
Retaliation: any action, directly or through others, which is aimed to deter a reasonable person from reporting sexual misconduct or participating in an investigation or hearing or action that is done in response to such activities. This includes but is not limited to intimidation, threats, coercion, or discrimination against any individual (a) for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege secured by Title IX of the Education amendments of 1972 or its implementing regulations; or (b) because the individual has made a report or complaint, testified, assisted, or participated or refused to participate in any manner in an investigation, proceeding or hearing under this Policy. A finding of retaliation under this policy is not dependent on a finding that the underlying sexual misconduct occurred.
What is Consent?
Consent: a knowing and voluntary agreement to engage in specific sexual activity at the time of the activity is communicated through clear actions and/or words that are mutually understood. To be valid, consent must be active, present and ongoing.
The following are clarifying points about consent:
- Consent is required each and every time there is sexual activity.
- At any and all times when consent is withdrawn or not agreed upon through actions or words, the sexual activity must stop immediately.
- A current or previous dating or sexual relationship with the initiator (or anyone else) does not constitute consent.
- Bodily movements and non-verbal responses such as moans are not consent.
- Silence, passivity, or lack of active resistance is not consent.
- Intentional use of alcohol/drugs does not imply consent.
- Seductive dancing or sexy/revealing clothing does not imply consent.
- Anyone under the age of 16 cannot give consent.
- Use of agreed upon forms of communication such as gestures or safe words are acceptable but must be discussed and verbally agreed upon by all parties before sexual activity occurs.
Incapacitation: occurs when an individual is unable to give consent due to the use of drugs, alcohol, being asleep or unconscious, or due to an intellectual or other disability. Any of these actions or factors may prevent the individual from having the capacity to give consent.
Additional examples of incapacitation include being:
- Physically or psychologically pressured or forced
- Intimidated or threatened
Rights & Responsibilities
- Reports and Formal Complaints have different meanings. An individual has a right to make a report of sexual misconduct to the College, which maybe accompanied by a request for Supportive Measures. An individual also has the right to make a Formal Complaint of sexual misconduct, which is a request to initiate the College’s informal resolution process or a formal resolution process that includes an investigation which may ultimately proceed to a conduct hearing.
- An individual also has the right to report sexual misconduct to law enforcement, separate and apart from any report or formal complaint made to the College.
- Complainants and witnesses of sexual misconduct have the right to be assisted by the College in notifying law enforcement authorities of sexual misconduct or they can decline to notify such authorities.
- The complainant has the right to seek medical treatment to address physical and mental health and to preserve evidence.
- At the time a report is made, an individual does not have to decide whether to file a formal complaint or make a report of sexual misconduct to lawn enforcement.
- Both Reporting and Responding parties have the right to request Supportive Measures from the College, which may include interim contact restrictions.
- Once a formal complaint has been received, each party is entitled to an advisor of their choice who can accompany the party to meetings, investigative interviews and will cross examine parties and witnesses at a conduct hearing.
- Prior to the conclusion of a sexual misconduct investigation, the complainant may request to withdraw the formal complaint by contacting the Title IX Coordinator/designee in writing. The Title IX Coordinator/designee will determine whether to close the case or conclude the investigation without the complainant’s continued participation.
- Witnesses and parties cannot be compelled to participate in the hearing (and have the right not to participate in the hearing free from retaliation).
- Each party who is charged with a violation of this policy where jurisdiction is appropriate has a right to a hearing.
- Parties have the option to file civil actions in court or with administrative agencies.
To file a formal report, please contact the Title IX Coordinator/designee.