TITLE IX POLICIES AND PROCEDURES
Mercyhurst University policy prohibits sexual harassment against any staff members, applicant, student, administrator, faculty member or third-party vendor. Respect for the dignity and work of each individual is a precept of the University. All persons will be held to standards of conduct which ensure that all members of the University community are free from sexual and other forms of harassment. Nothing in the policy is meant to limit the rights of an aggrieved person to seek relief in a state or federal court of law. The term harassment refers to unwelcome mistreatment based upon a person’s protected characteristics or class membership which is intended to or has the effect of preventing or interfering with a person’s full participation in the University’s work or academic environment.
In accordance with Title IX of the Education Amendment Act of 1972, Mercyhurst University prohibits discrimination based on sex in its educational and athletic programs, as well as in extracurricular activities sponsored by the University. To ensure compliance with Title IX and other federal and state civil rights laws, the University has developed policies and procedures that prohibit sex discrimination in all forms. An individual's sex cannot be considered as a basis for making decisions in areas such as:
- Employment decisions
- Admission and graduation requirements
- Access to course enrollment or campus facilities
- Counseling and health services
- Competitive athletic programs and activities
- Housing, financial aid, or other benefits/services
A student, employee, or other individual may use this grievance procedure to file a complaint alleging a violation of Title IX against any Mercyhurst student, Mercyhurst employee, or third party. Complaints may include claims of sex discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual violence, or any other forms of sexual misconduct against the complainant or against others. The person aggrieved may choose to file a criminal complaint with the appropriate local or state authorities.
The University takes complaints very seriously and will work with complainants to ensure their safety and to remedy the situation. Mercyhurst University encourages those who have experienced any form of sex discrimination to report the incident promptly and to seek all available assistance.
The University does not limit the time frame for filing a report of discrimination based on sex. Reports can be submitted at any time following an incident, although the University’s ability to take any action may be limited by the matriculation status of the alleged respondent.
Complainant – a person who initiates the complaint process under this policy
Respondent – a person against whom a complaint is filed under this policy
Witness – a person that is present during an incident that violates this policy
Investigator – a person designated by the Administration to serve in that capacity
University employees have a mandatory duty to report information they may receive regarding violations of the Title IX Policy as it relates to both students and employees. Employees with this affirmative duty include those that have the authority to take action to redress the harassment or those whole a student or employee could reasonably believe has this authority or responsibility, which include but are not limited to:
- President, Provost and Associate Provosts, Vice Presidents, Assistant and Associate Vice Presidents, Deans, Department Chairs, Program Directors and Coaches,
- Any employee in a supervisory or management role,
- Any faculty member responsible for supervising any activities or programs that include direct contact with students outside of the classroom,
- Mercyhurst University Police & Safety Officers and any contracted security personnel, and
- Any Student Life personnel including Resident Assistants, Hall Directors and Assistant Directors.
Mercyhurst University encourages those who have experienced any form of sex discrimination to report the incident promptly and to seek all available assistance. Mercyhurst takes complaints very seriously and will work with all parties involved to ensure their safety and to remedy the situation.
The University’s primary concern is student safety. Students may be reluctant to report instances of sexual assault because they fear being charged with policy violations, such as underage alcohol consumption. To encourage reporting, any other policy violations may be addressed (if necessary) separately from a sex discrimination allegation.