Wilkes University

Sexual Misconduct and Harassment

Sexual misconduct in any form, whether on or off campus, will not be tolerated at Wilkes University.

Sexual misconduct is a violation defined as any action in which one person forces another to engage in sexual activity against his/her will or without consent.

This webpage serves as a resource to inform students, faculty and staff about:

  • information related to programs in place to educate the campus community regarding prevention and issues surrounding sexual misconduct;
  • training programs for staff and faculty to provide student victims with direction for assistance;
  • conduct policies and procedures to adjudicate cases involving sexual misconduct;
  • and, most importantly, support systems for victims.

Sexual Misconduct: Includes non-consensual sexual intercourse, non-consensual sexual contact, sexual exploitation, partner violence, stalking and any other behavior of a sexual nature that is non-consensual and used for the purpose of coercing, intimidating or threatening another person. Sexual misconduct can occur between people of the opposite sex or people of the same sex.
Sexual harassment can generally be defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and/or any other visual, verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.

Sexual Harassment: Any unwelcome sexual advances (verbal or physical), requests for sexual favors or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature are considered sexual harassment when: submitting to or participating in the conduct is either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment or educational achievement; or the conduct interferes with or is intended to interfere with academic or work performance; or if the conduct creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive educational or work environment.

Sexual Harassment
1. Say ”no” to the offender. Make it perfectly clear that you do not approve.
2. Keep a record of the harassment, being certain to include the date, time and place.
3. Save any applicable evidence: “love notes,” messages, etc.
4. Be certain to note if there are any witnesses.
5. Report the incident and seek support.

Students who believe they are victims of, or witnesses to harassment should report the incident to the Office of Student Affairs or Human Resources.The University has designated a Title IX Coordinator and Deputy Title IX Coordinator to serve as advocates on behalf of individuals wishing to make a claim of sexual harassment.

Samantha Phillips
Title IX Coordinator
Office Location: 10 East South Street
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18766
Phone: (570) 408-3842
Email: samantha.phillips@wilkes.edu

Philip J. Ruthkosky, Ph.D.
Associate Dean, Student Development
Deputy Title IX Coordinator
Office Location: 2nd Floor, Passan Hall
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18766
Phone: (570) 408-4108
Email: philip.ruthkosky@wilkes.edu

Sexual Misconduct:
Individuals who are the victims of, or witnesses to sexual misconduct should:

1. Get the victim to a safe place as soon as possible.
2. Seek immediate medical attention.

*For life-threatening conditions, call 911
*For non-life-threatening situations, contact the Public Safety Office at 570-408-4999.

3. Preserve any evidence.
4. File a report with Wilkes University’s Office of Student Affairs (570- 362-8346) or Public Safety Office (570-408-4999).

Wilkes University offers support services to individuals who are victims of sexual misconduct that include, but are
not limited to the following:

• Accompaniment to the hospital (if desired) by a Student Affairs staff member.
• Access to ongoing information, support, and advice from on-campus and off-campus counselors.
• Academic support services.
• Assistance in reporting the incident to the local police department (if desired).
• Accommodations to minimize contact with alleged assailant.
• Protection from retaliation.

Under Title IX, campus mental health counselors and health service employees are not required
to report incidents of sexual misconduct without a student’s consent. Consequently, students
who wish to seek confidential oncampus support can contact the University’s Health and Wellness
Services Office located on the first floor of Passan Hall.  Phone: 570-408-4730. Email: anita.burns@wilkes.edu

Students may also seek confidential counseling off campus at:

The Victims Resource Center
71 North Franklin Street
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18701
(570) 823-0765

All faculty and staff members who do not work within the Health and Wellness Services Office are designated by Wilkes University as “responsible employees”. Title IX requires all responsible employees “who know or reasonably should know of possible sexual violence” to report the information to the appropriate school designee. A Wilkes staff or faculty person who is made aware of a case of sexual misconduct, either directly from a victim,or indirectly, is obligated to report the incident to the Title IX Coordinator, Student Affairs, or Public Safety.

Once a incident is reported, the complainant (alleged victim) is offered immediate medical, counseling, and protective services. The complainant will then meet with a Student Affairs Dean for a complete overview of support services and accommodations, such as protection from retaliation, no contact arrangements, reporting options, and University procedures.

If the complainant requests to proceed with a University investigation and hearing, and the lead investigator determins there is cause to move forward, the investigator will meet with complainant, accused, and witnesses to prepare incident reports.

A hearing takes place before the Administrative Committee on Sexual Misconduct and the committee
will issue findings (in some cases sanctions) based upon preponderance of evidence standard. Findings shared with complainant and accused in writing. Both complainant and accused can request appeal based on new evidence, procedural error in original hearing, or inappropriate sanction relative to policy violation.
Both the complainant and accused have equal opportunity to provide witnesses and bring an advisor of their choice. The complainant can join the hearing via video conference if more comfortable.

Wilkes University offers the following educational programs and services that are designed to foster a safe living, learning and working environment.

  1. Training programs on how to recognize and appropriately report allegations of sexual harassment and sexual misconduct to those who may meet students in crisis situations or serve in an advisory or adjudicating capacity, such as resident assistants, Title IX officers, public safety officers, first-year student mentors, department supervisors, student affairs emergency on-call staff, and members of the Administrative Committee on Sexual Misconduct and Judicial Council.
  2. An online, health-education and self-assessment program administered to all incoming first-year students, which addresses their choices related to drugs and alcohol along with the connection between alcohol/drug use and sexual violence.
  3. A mandatory First-Year Student Orientation workshop on sexual harassment and violence presented by the Victim’s Resource Center of Wilkes-Barre, PA.
  4. A sexual harassment and violence brochure disseminated to all first-year students.
  5. On duty uniformed Public Safety Officers, 24 hours a day/7 days a week.
  6. A Bystander Intervention program designed to provide students with the skills and confidence to intervene safely and effectively when witness to situations where individuals may be at risk of sexual violence.
  7. An emergency on-duty Student Affairs professional, 24 hours a day/7 days a week.
  8. A “Safe Escort” from a Public Safety officer anywhere on campus from dusk until dawn.
  9. An emergency community notification system comprised of several communication methods including, text messaging, printed fliers, and the Wilkes Portal.
  10. An anonymous campus advisory extension to report information regarding safety and security concerns.
  11. Self-Defense Awareness & Familiarization Exchange (S.A.F.E.) – a voluntary educational awareness program for women designed to provide basic self-defense skills along with information to reduce the risk of sexual violence.

All faculty and staff members who do not work within the Health and Wellness Services Office are designated by Wilkes University as “responsible employees” or “mandated reporters”. Title IX requires all responsible employees/mandated reporters “who know or reasonably should know of possible sexual violence” to report the information to the appropriate University designee. A Wilkes staff or faculty person who is made aware of a case of sexual misconduct, either directly from a victim, or indirectly, should immediately report the information to one of the following contacts.

The Office of Public Safety
(570) 408-4999

Title IX Coordinator

Samantha Phillips
Title IX Coordinator
(570) 408-3842
Email: samantha.phillips@wilkes.edu

Student Contact

Philip J. Ruthkosky, Ph.D.
Deputy Title IX Coordinator
Associate Dean of Student Affairs
(570) 408-4108
Email:  philip.ruthkosky@wilkes.edu

Gretchen S. Yeninas
Associate Dean of Student Affairs
(570) 408-4107
Email: gretchen.yeninas@wilkes.edu

Paul Adams, Ph.D.
Vice President, Student Affairs
(570) 408-4114
Email: paul.adams@wilkes.edu

Faculty/Staff/Contract workers contact

Joseph Housenick
Deputy Title IX Coordinator
Chief Human Resources Officer
Phone: 570-408-4631
Email: joseph.housenick@wilkes.edu