Sexual Harassment & Misconduct: Reporting Information, Support and Resources

Dean Rivera serves as the University's Deputy Title IX Coordinator. In this role, she works with and supports students are who have reported or are otherwise involved in investigations related to the University's Sexual Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Policy. Sexual harassment and sexual misconduct are defined in the Policy to include behaviors such as, sexual assault, sexual exploitation, intimate partner violence, stalking, and other forms of sexual harassment.

As a Catholic, Jesuit institution of higher learning, The University of Scranton is committed to providing care and support for students who have experienced sexual harassment or sexual misconduct while remaining mindful of the safety and well-being of the larger University community. Sexual misconduct includes sexual assault, sexual exploitation, intimate partner violence and stalking. Federal laws (i.e., Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972) require the University to take immediate and appropriate steps upon becoming aware of reports of sexual harassment or sexual misconduct. The University will make every reasonable effort to preserve an individual’s privacy in light of this responsibility.

The following information does not take the place of the comprehensive Sexual Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Policy but, rather, is provided to raise awareness of services, support, and reporting options. Students who may have witnessed, experienced or been involved in sexual harassment or sexual misconduct are encouraged to review resources in the CARE Brochure.

Privacy and Confidentiality

The University encourages the reporting of all incidents of sexual harassment and sexual misconduct and is committed to protecting the privacy of all individuals involved in the investigation and resolution of a report under the Sexual Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Policy. The University also is committed to providing assistance to help students make informed choices. With respect to any report under this Policy, the University will make reasonable efforts to protect the privacy of participants, in accordance with applicable state and federal law, while balancing the need to gather information to assess the report and to take steps to eliminate prohibited conduct, prevent its recurrence, and remedy its effects.

Privacy and confidentiality have distinct meanings under the Sexual Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Policy:

Privacy: Privacy means that information will be shared only with University employees who “need to know” in order to assist in the assessment, investigation, and resolution of the report. All employees who are involved in the University’s response to reports of prohibited conduct receive specific training about sharing and safeguarding private information in accordance with state and federal law. Further, the University will maintain as private, any accommodations or protective measures provided to the extent that maintaining such confidentiality would not impair the University’s ability to provide the accommodations or protective measures.

Confidentiality: Confidentiality exists in the context of laws that protect certain relationships, including with medical and clinical care providers (and those who provide administrative services related to the provision of medical and clinical care), mental health providers, and ordained clergy, all of whom may engage in confidential communications under Pennsylvania law. The University has designated individuals who have the ability to have privileged communications as “Confidential Employees.” When information is shared by an individual with a Confidential Employee or a community professional with the same legal protections, the Confidential Employee (and/or such community professional) will not reveal the information to any third party except when an applicable law or a court order requires or permits disclosure of such information or when a student requests assistance from the Confidential Employee in making a report. For example, information may be disclosed when: (i) a person gives written consent for its disclosure; (ii) there is a concern that the person will likely cause serious physical harm to self or others; or (iii) the information concerns suspected abuse or neglect of a minor under the age of 18.

Reporting Options

The University encourages students to report situations in which they believe sexual assault or other sexual misconduct has occurred.

Emergency Reporting and Immediate Care

The first priority for any individual is personal safety and well-being. The University encourages all individuals to seek immediate assistance from University Police (570-941-7777), the City of Scranton Police Department at 911 or (570)348-4134, and/or a medical facility. This is the best way to address immediate safety concerns while allowing for the preservation of evidence and an immediate investigative response. If you have experienced sexual misconduct, including sexual assault:

  • Preserve all evidence of the sexual assault or other form of sexual misconduct.
    • Do not bathe, change or dispose of clothing, use the restroom, wash hands, brush teeth, eat or smoke.
    • If you are still at the location of the incident, do not clean anything.
    • Write down all the details you can recall about the incident and the perpetrator including any information related to previous concerning behavior or history.
  • In cases of sexual assault, seek medical care as soon as possible. Even if you do not have any visible physical injuries, you may be at risk of acquiring a sexually transmitted infection (women may also be at risk for pregnancy).
    • Ask the health care professional to conduct a Sexual Assault Forensic Exam (SAFE).
    • If you suspect you were drugged, request collection of a urine or blood sample.

On Campus Reporting Options

Students are encouraged to directly report information regarding any incident of sexual harassment or sexual misconduct to any of the following reporting options:

  • Title IX Coordinator: Ms. Jennifer LaPorta, Executive Director and Title IX Coordinator; Office of Equity and Diversity, Institute of Molecular Biology and Medicine, Suite 103. Phone: (570) 941-6645, Jennifer.laporta@scranton.edu, www.scranton.edu/diversity
  • Deputy Title IX Coordinator: Ms. Lauren Rivera, Associate Vice Provost for Student Formation & Campus Life and Dean of Students; Suite 201, The Patrick & Margaret DeNaples Center. Phone: (570)941-7680, lauren.rivera@scranton.edu
  • The University of Scranton Police Department: Campus Parking Pavilion; Phone: 570-941-7777 (emergency) or 570-941-7888 (non-emergency); www.scranton.edu/police
  • Online Anonymous Reporting: The University of Scranton Police Silent Witness Program, www.scranton.edu/silentwitness

Required Reporter Statement

University policy provides that every employee (except those specifically identified as “confidential” resources) who receives a report of sexual harassment or sexual misconduct is required to share the report with the Title IX Coordinator. Resident Assistants, Graduate Assistants, and Student Officers are also required reporters. While students are encouraged to directly report information to the designated reporting options listed above, the University recognizes that a student may choose to share information regarding sexual harassment and sexual misconduct with other employees of the University, e.g. a Resident Assistant, faculty member, or coach. The University is committed to ensuring that all reports are shared with the Title IX Coordinator for consistent application of the Sexual Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Policy to all individuals and to allow the University to respond promptly and equitably to eliminate the prohibited conduct, prevent its recurrence and address its effects.

Resources and Support Services

Medical Support Services

Medical Services in cases of sexual assault or other sexual misconduct are best handled by a hospital when the student seeks assistance within 72 hours of the incident.  In addition to Student Health Services which provides medical support and assistance to University students, medical treatment and collection of evidence is available locally at:

  • Geisinger Community Medical Center, 1800 Mulberry St., (570) 969-8000
  • The Regional Hospital of Scranton, 746 Jefferson Ave., (570) 348-7951
  • Moses Taylor Hospital, 700 Quincy Ave., (570) 340-2900

If the student visits a hospital for an exam, both the police and Women’s Resource Center of Lackawanna County (WRC) should be notified by the hospital. The student may choose whether or not to speak to the police and/or the WRC. If the student chooses to speak to the police, he or she still has the option of whether or not to file charges against the person accused. The WRC Advocate will be able to provide support and information through the process.

Confidential Resources and Support Services

Students who desire confidentiality are best served by one of the confidential resources/ support services listed below. 

  • Counseling Services (570-941-7620) are provided by the University’s Counseling Center located on the 6th floor of O’Hara Hall. If requested, the Counseling Center will provide counseling as well as referrals to agencies off-campus. Counseling services are available Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. during the academic year.
  • Student Health Services (570-941-7667) provides medical support and assistance to University students from 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday and Friday 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. during the academic year. Student Health Services is located at the corner of North Webster Avenue and Mulberry Street in the Roche Wellness Center.
  • Women’s Resource Center of Lackawanna County is a confidential, community-based agency serving those who have experienced sexual assault or other sexual misconduct. A counselor/advocate can be reached 24 hours a day by calling (570) 346-4671.
  • National Sexual Assault Hotline is a free, confidential national resource available 24 hours a day by calling (800) 656-HOPE or online.rainn.org.

Additional Resources and Support Services

Various resources within the University and local community are available for students who have experienced sexual harassment or sexual misconduct of any kind. In this regard, University policy and practices are designed to encourage students to seek support and receive assistance. Regardless of which resource(s) a student chooses to access, the situation will be handled with sensitivity and care designed to protect the privacy of the student/s involved.

  • Campus Ministries (570-941-7419) is located the DeNaples Center, Suite 200 and offers pastoral support. Students may stop by the office and ask to speak to a priest or campus minister or schedule an appointment. Although Campus Ministries staff are not a confidential employees, ordained priests acting in their pastoral capacity are confidential and will not report to the Title IX Coordinator.
  • The Jane Kopas Women’s Center (570-941-6194) is located in the DeNaples Center, Suite 205. The Center is a safe and comfortable gathering place that also provides educational programming, leadership development, resources and referrals.
  • www.scranton.edu/CARE is a website maintained by the University which provides information and resources for those in our campus community who have experienced or witnessed sexual harassment or sexual misconduct.
  • Title IX Coordinator, Jennifer LaPorta, is located in the Office of Equity and Diversity (570-941-6645). This office located in the Molecular Biology Institute, Room 100, provides programs, resources, and support. The Title IX Coordinator is available to discuss any questions regarding the Sexual Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Policy, to assist a student in accessing resources and support services and to facilitate the investigation and resolution of reports of conduct that may violate the Sexual Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Policy.
  • University Police (570-941-7777) are available to coordinate with various resources to provide for the safety and well-being of the person who experienced sexual assault or another form of sexual misconduct. This may include transporting a student to a hospital for medical care, assisting in obtaining a Protection from Abuse Order from the local court, and/or coordinating with appropriate legal authorities including the Lackawanna County District Attorney’s Office and the Victim/Witness Unit.
  • Dean of Students/Deputy Title IX Coordinator, Lauren Rivera, is located in the DeNaples Student Center, Suite 201 (570-941-7680).  The Dean of Students (or designee) meets with students to offer support and resource information, safeguard the larger University community, discuss formal reporting options, and review the Title IX investigation process.

Meeting with the Dean of Students

The following is an outline of the information, resources and support provided by the Dean of Students (“Dean”) or her designee.

  • Assess student welfare, determining if immediate medical attention is necessary and/or desired.
  • Triage the need for and provide information about support services and/or resources (either on or off campus). As part of this process, the Dean will refer the student to the law enforcement (if not already contacted) for an investigation and/or explanation of options if the student choses. If the student chooses not to speak with University Police or local police, this request will be honored. If the Dean believes there is an imminent danger to the student or to the larger University community, the Dean will contact University Police.
  • Provide information about and assistance in obtaining interim measures, including, but not limited to, no contact directives and academic support.
    • The Dean works closely with academic deans across the University to assist the student with academic concerns and issues that may arise as a result of a sexual assault or other sexual misconduct.
    • The Dean may issue a “no contact directive” preventing direct or indirect contact in cases where multiple students are involved. It is enforceable through the University’s Student Code of Conduct.
    • The Dean also assists with housing accommodations in the event that involved students live in close proximity to or have classes with each other.
  • Discuss formal reporting options by reviewing the University’s Sexual Harassment & Sexual Misconduct Policy and referring interested students to the appropriate police authority or community advocates to learn more about the criminal process.