Shepherd University

Campus Student Conduct System

office (304) 876-5214
fax (304) 876-5137

Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault Harassment

Student Code of Conduct, #300-302, p. 111

Who May Be Involved? p. 123

What are the Consequences of Harassment? p. 123

Harassment: What Can The Shepherd Community Do? p. 123

Lodging an Official Complaint p. 125

Who May Be Involved?

1. Harassment in the campus community can involve:

a. Professor and student

b. Staff employee and student

c. Student and student

d. Other relationships among colleagues, peers, and coworkers

2. Anyone can be harassed. Victims may be any class standing, student athletes, student employees or members of any student organization or club. Harassment can happen at anytime, and without warning.

What are the Consequences of Harassment?

1. Victims of harassment may experience a wide range of emotions as well as physical and psychological distress. This can lead to feeling forced to drop a class, change a major, leave a residence hall or student club or even withdraw from the University. Harassment causes a tense and unproductive learning environment the effects of which can be felt long afterwards.

2. The University will appropriately investigate any accusations of harassment that a student brings against a University employee. If the University finds that the employee has generally harassed the student, the employee will be subject to sanctions that are relative to promotion, termination, forced resignation, negative evaluations, poor recommendations for other work, or demotion, any student who is charged with harassment will be subject to the established student disciplinary process as outlined in the Shepherd University Student Handbook.

3. Some students may be concerned that, as a consequence of their accusation, they will experience retaliation from their harasser. Forms of retaliation can include, but are not limited to, the arbitrary assignment of poor grades, making the student feel unwelcome. The University will strive to prevent retaliation from occurring. If a student perceives that his or her harasser is engaging in retaliation, s/he can address the complaint to the campus Ombudsperson.

What Can The Shepherd Community Do About Harassment?

Preventing harassment requires each member of the campus community, especially individuals being harassed, to report all occurrences. All student to student harassment needs to be reported to the Dean of Students Office.

A. A Victim of Harassment should do the following: prior to filing an Official Harassment

1. Keep records – write a journal on this issue, record the facts on a tape recorder, or tell a friend in confidence. If the harassment persists, keep track of dates, places, times, witnesses, and the nature of the harassment. Save any emails, letters, cards, or notes in a secure place, preferably at home. Bear in mind that these documents could be used in litigation.

2. Talk with a trusted person such as an advisor, friend or member of the Civility Response Team at 304/304-876-5214.

3. If practical, talk directly to your harasser and explain why the action or comment is offensive. Say it firmly, without smiling, and without apologizing.

4. If direct communication is not possible, tell the harasser in writing that you object to this behavior. Describe the specific things which offend or upset you. Keep this letter as a confidential piece of communication and keep a copy of it.

5. If you do not feel comfortable with the first three options, you can immediately contact the campus Ombudsperson to assist you in confronting your harasser.

6. If harassment does not stop after taking these steps, or if initial harassment is so serious as to require immediate action, then a complaint should be initiated. To initiate a complaint, contact the campus Ombudsperson. The Ombudsperson is trained to listen and to advise you of the Informal and Formal Resolution Processes at Shepherd University. Even if you decide not to engage either in the informal or formal resolution process, a copy of the complaint will be maintained in the office of the Ombudsperson.

7. There are counselors on campus who will assist any student who wants to talk about harassment or other problems in confidence. No information discussed in counseling relationships will be divulged unless directed to by the client/victim.

8. Anyone who observes harassment should report it to the Ombudsperson so the problem can be properly addressed.

9. It is important to remember that perpetrators of harassment are sometimes subject to federal and state laws as well as University policies. A victim can choose to pursue federal and state remedies at the same time s/he is pursuing University remedies.

B. Lodging an Official Harassment Complaint

1. Official Process: The Informal Resolution of Harassment Complaints. The informal resolution of complaints, when possible, can be an effective way of correcting misconduct. The process is follows:

a. A victim or third party submits a complaint to the campus Ombudsperson. An initial meeting between the Ombudsperson and complainant takes place. All options are explained by the Ombudsperson.

 b. If the informal resolution option is chosen, the complainant may engage in the following actions: Opt for a meeting with the alleged harasser and the Ombudsperson. All parties are permitted to bring support persons (friend, family member, colleague, etc.). The Ombudsperson will serve as mediator, listening to all views and establishing a resolution document or mediation agreement as appropriate. Opt for the Ombudsperson to meet with all parties separately. The Ombudsperson listens to all views, presents views of opposing parties to each other, and establishes a resolution document or mediation agreement as appropriate.

c. The resolution document or mediation agreement may include a “no-contact arrangement” and/or provisions. The outcome of the informal resolution should meet the satisfaction of all parties to the fullest extent possible. If the complainant is not satisfied, the Ombudsperson will review other options available.

d. Records, including the resolution document, are submitted to the office of Ombudsperson for filing.

e. The Ombudsperson will follow-up with parties within two weeks of the resolution if one was reached. Additional follow-up contacts will be made as needed.

f. Proceedings and records will be confidential to the fullest extent possible. If additional complaints arise subsequently as to the same employee, the earlier records may be evidence of a continuing practice of misconduct.

g. Complainants should act in a timely fashion. The Ombudsperson will, in all cases, attempt to resolve informal complaints within two weeks of notification of the complaint.

2. The Official Process: Formal Resolution of Harassment Complaints Any student who feels that informal resolution of a complaint will not be or has not been satisfactory should file a formal written complaint with the Ombudsperson.

a. Since the passage of time makes the resolution of complaints more difficult, it is recommended that the written complaints be filed as soon as possible from the date of the incident(s).

b. A complaint filed against a professor by a student currently enrolled in the professor’s class should be made as soon as possible. The student may choose to have the complaint held confidentially until the end of the semester, at which time the complaint will be resolved. But some situations may require immediate action on the part of the University.

c. A complaint against another student will be referred to the Dean of Students for management as a student disciplinary matter.

d. The President shall annually designate an eight-member body made up of four faculty and four staff. The Ombudsperson will randomly select two panelists from the same group as the person accused and one panelist from the other group to investigate each formal complaint. Immediate supervisors of the accused or the accuser, or any person with a specific, known bias, will be excluded from serving on the three member panel. The formation of the panel will be completed within two weeks of the submission of the written complaint, except where extenuating circumstances require additional time.

e. When a formal written complaint against an employee is received by the Ombudsperson, a three-member panel will be selected (as noted in letter d.) and copies of the complaint will be given to panel members. Panel members will conduct such investigation into the facts and circumstances of the complaints as may be deemed appropriate by any of the panel members.

f. The panel may meet with the accuser, accused, and any witnesses relevant to its investigation, but shall at all times act collectively as a group and not individually. The investigation will be completed within four weeks of the formation of the panel, except where extenuating circumstances require additional time.

g. The panel shall prepare a written report of its factual findings and conclusions regarding the merits of the complaint. Their report may, if applicable, include dissenting conclusions. If the report finds any part of the complaints to be meritorious, then the report will designate appropriate action with respect to the perpetrator. The panel will complete the written report within one week of the close of the investigation, except when extenuating circumstances require additional time.

h. The panel shall direct its written report to the Ombudsperson and to the executive officer who supervises the accused. The Ombudsperson shall then provide a copy of the report to the accused and the accuser and notice of whether the executive officer implemented some form of adverse action as to the employee-perpetrator.

i. Appeals on the part of the accuser may be directed to the President. The accused may appeal any adverse action by following the established grievance procedures of the University.


Student Code of Conduct, #400-403 p. 111

Students who believe they have been the target of sexual harassment may lodge formal complaints with the Dean of Students if the perpetrator is a student or group of students.

If the perpetrator is a faculty/staff member, students may lodge formal complaints with Ombudsperson. Lodging a formal complaint will result in a thorough and timely investigation of the reported incident; individuals found responsible for sexual harassment will be held appropriately accountable by the University.

Support, advocacy and/or assistance with lodging a formal complaint may be obtained from any members of the Sexual Harassment Policy and Action Team; complaints may also be lodged informally with or resolved through mediation by any member of this Team. An updated list of Team members may be obtained from the Student Affairs Office, the Academic Affairs Office or from the President’s Office.

A student who does not feel that an informal complaint has been satisfactorily resolved or mediated may then elect to lodge a formal complaint through the designated channels. (Please also refer to No Excuses...Sexual Harassment Violates You and Violates the Law, Guidelines for Reporting Sexual Harassment at Shepherd University distributed by the Ombudsperson’s Office and Student Affairs Office.


Student Code of Conduct, #500-503 p. 113

Consent p. 127

Incapacity of Victim p. 127

Filing a Sexual Assault Complaint p. 128

The Sexual Assault Victim Advocacy Program p. 129


Consent requires the response of yes, not the absence of no.

• Consent requires conversation.
• The person who initiates sexual activity is responsible for asking for consent.
• The absence of a clear verbal signal means you do not have consent.
• Both parties must have unimpaired judgment (examples that may cause impairment include but are not limited to alcohol, drugs, and mental health conditions).
• Prior to sexual activity, both parties must disclose personal risk factors such as any known STDs, and both parties must use safer sex practices.
• Consent means that both partners decide together to have sex.
• Regardless of your prior sexual history consent is required each time you have sexual activity.
• Both parties must have a clear and accurate understanding of the intended sexual activity.
• It is not your partner’s job to resist; it is your responsibility to respect his/her boundaries.
• At any time when consent is withdrawn or not verbally agreed to, the sexual activity must stop. Silence is not consent.
• You cannot rely on assumptions on what your partner does or does not want.

Incapacity of the Victim

Incapacity of the victim does not constitute consent on the part of the victim. A person is determined incapable of consent when such person is less than sixteen years old; or mentally defective; or mentally incapacitated; or physically helpless. Mentally defective means that the person suffers from a mental disease or defect, which renders such person incapable of appraising the nature of his or her conduct.

Mentally incapacitated means that a person is rendered temporarily incapable of appraising or controlling his or her conduct as a result of the influence of a controlled or intoxicating substance administered to such person without his or her consent or as a result of any other act committed upon such without his or her consent. Physically helpless means that a person is unconscious or for any reason is physically unable to communicate unwillingness to an act. (West Virginia State Law)

It is the position of Shepherd University that a sexual assault also occurs against the victim who willingly takes a controlled or intoxicating substance if the sexual contact occurs after the victim becomes temporarily incapable of appraising or controlling his or her conduct as a result of the controlled or intoxicating substance. A student charged with sexual assault can be prosecuted under West Virginia law AND disciplined in accordance with University policies and regulations. A student found guilty of sexual assault through the campus Student Conduct system may be subject to suspension or expulsion.

Filing a Sexual Assault Complaint

Students who are victims of sexual assault or who have questions about such matters are encouraged to contact one of the following campus officials for assistance: The Dean of Students, an administrator in the Student Affairs Office, a member of the Health Center, a University counselor, a member of the Residence Life staff, or any University Police officer. Students may also contact the rape crisis hotline of the Shenandoah Women’s Center, 304-263-8292 or 304-876-6679. Students who are victims of sexual assault have the right to file a complaint with campus officials AND local law enforcement agencies.

A. A student who has filed a sexual assault complaint under University regulations has the right to be accompanied by an advocate or counselor of his or her choosing during a Campus Student Conduct Board hearing. The advocate may not participate directly in the hearing.

B. If a student files a sexual assault charge against another student under the University Student Conduct system, the complainant has the right to be informed of the outcome of the hearing in the same manner and within the same time frame as the accused.


Shepherd University Police 304-876-5202/304-876-5374

Shepherd University Health Services 304-876-5161

WVUH-East - City Hospital (Berkeley County) 304-264-1000

WVUH-East - Jefferson Memorial Hospital (Jefferson County) 304-728-1600

Shepherd University Counseling Services 304-876-5276

Shenandoah Women’s Center 24-Hour Hotline 304-263-8292

Dean of Students 304-876-5478 or 304-876-5214

Title IX Coordinator, Marie DeWalt 304-876-5299

The Sexual Assault Victim Advocacy Program

The University strongly urges all sexual assault victims to report the crime as soon as possible to the appropriate law enforcement agency. Doing so saves time and preserves evidence. It also ensures that a victim receives medical attention and counseling. However, many victims are hesitant to initiate the reporting process alone, and some victims may decide to never report the crime.

The University is committed to providing nonjudgmental and appropriate support services for all sexual assault victims, regardless of whether they report the crime or not. In addition, the University has a vested interest in obtaining an accurate count of the number of sexual assaults involving student victims which occur on or off-campus. The victim advocacy program is designed to accomplish both of these goals, as well as to meet federal mandates.

The Student Right-to-Know and Campus Security Act of 1990 requires Shepherd University to provide accurate crime statistics on an annual basis to the campus community, while the Higher Education Reauthorization Act of 1992 Sexual Assault Victim’s Bill of Rights requires, among other things, that all higher education institutions establish a protocol for responding to reported sexual assault incidents.

Victim-advocates ensure that students who have been sexually assaulted do not have to navigate the legal, medical, or mental health system alone. All victim advocacy services are confidential. Victim-advocates are designated University staff members who possess expertise in sexual assault issues, have extensive experience in sexual assault crisis intervention, and have received appropriate training in the medical and legal issues related to sexual assault. A current list of victim-advocates is available from the Dean of Students.

Any student that is a victim of sexual assault is strongly encouraged to consult a victim-advocate as soon after the assault as possible. Any time that a student reports a recent sexual assault (defined as an assault that occurred in the current academic or calendar year) to a Shepherd University employee, that employee is required to immediately refer the student to a victim-advocate. The victim-advocate, in turn, is required to do the following:

1. Inform the victim of her or his legal options for recourse (both civil and criminal), encourage the victim to report the assault, assist the victim with preserving evidence, and inform the victim of her/his legal rights and protections;

2. Inform the victim of other options for recourse, including a campus disciplinary hearing, and inform the victim of her/his Code of Student Conduct rights and protections;

3. Encourage the victim to seek medical attention for injuries, sexually transmitted infection prophylaxis, emergency contraception, GHB/rohypnol testing, and HIV testing;

4. Encourage the victim to seek counseling services;

5. Assist the victim with obtaining academic accommodations as appropriate in the event of post-traumatic stress disorder;

6. Assist the victim with obtaining new or temporary living arrangements if a threat to physical safety persists;

7. Serve as an emotional support resource for the victim during the initial phase of recovery; and

8. Make a confidential and anonymous report in writing to the Dean of Students who, in collaboration with the Office of Public Safety, compiles an annual summary for purposes of federal campus crime reporting.

In the event of a persistent or imminent threat to student safety, the Dean of Students will inform the Shepherd University community in a timely manner. Resources for sexual assault prevention education are also available from the Dean of Students Office in the Student Center, Health Center, and Residence Life.

Role of the Victim-Advocate:

• Provide medical and legal advocacy for victims of sexual assault
• Make appropriate resource and provider referrals for victims.
• Assist victims in obtaining academic accommodations and other support services.
• Assist the University with meeting federally mandated campus crime reporting requirements.
• Ensure consistency of care and response for all victims