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 students with direction for assistance.
  • conduct policies and procedures to adjudicate cases involving sexual misconduct.
  • and, most importantly, support systems and resources for our students.

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.

For more information, review the policy prohibiting all forms of sexual harassment.

  1. Contact the Title IX Coordinator/Deputy Coordinators with the contact information listed below. A report may be made at any time (including during non-business hours) by using the telephone number or email address, or by mail to the office address, listed for the Title IX Coordinator.

    Title IX Coordinator

    Samantha E. Hart
    10 East South Street, Suite A,
    Wilkes-Barre, PA 18766
    Phone: (570)-408-3842
    samantha.hart@wilkes.edu

    Deputy Title IX Coordinator | Students

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

    Deputy Title IX Coordinator | Faculty/Staff

    Kristin Pitarra
    Human Resources Director
    10 East South Street, Suite A
    Wilkes-Barre, PA 18766
    Phone: (570) 408-2034
    kristin.pitarra@wilkes.edu
  2. Report using the online reporting form. Employees can additionally access the University’s Confidential Reporting Mechanism.
  3. Report to the Wilkes University Police Department:
    148 South Main Street
    Wilkes-Barre, PA 18766
    Telephone: (570) 408-4999

Wilkes University offers support services to all students that include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Referral to counseling, medical, and/or other healthcare services.
  • Referral to community-based service providers such as the Victim Resource Center and Domestic Violence Service Center.
  • Visa and immigration assistance.
  • Student financial aid counseling.
  • Education to the community or community subgroup(s).
  • Altering campus housing assignment(s).
  • Safety planning.
  • Providing campus safety escorts.
  • Providing transportation accommodations.
  • Implementing contact limitations (no contact orders).
  • Academic support, extensions of deadlines, or other course/program-related adjustments.
  • Trespass or Persona Non Grata (PNG) orders.
  • Connection to local resources for help on how to obtain a Protection from Abuse or Sexual Violence Protection Order.
  • Class schedule modifications, withdrawals, or leaves of absence.
  • Increased security and monitoring of certain areas of the campus.

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 on-campus 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 “mandated reporters”. A Wilkes staff or faculty person who is made aware of a case of sexual misconduct is obligated to report the incident to the Title IX Coordinator, Student Affairs, or Public Safety.

Once an incident is reported, the Complainant is offered immediate medical, counseling, and protective services. The Complainant will then meet with the Title IX Coordinator, Deputy Title IX Coordinator or designee for a complete overview of support services and accommodations, such as protection from retaliation, no contact arrangements, reporting options, and University procedures.

The Complainant may select to file a Formal Complaint which would offer the Complainant the opportunity to select from a supportive and remedial response; an informal resolution; or a formal investigation and hearing process. You can learn more about the University’s resolution options in the University's policies and procedures.

The Complainant may also request that a Formal Complaint not be pursued, or that the University does not initiate further proceedings. In such cases, the Title IX Coordinator will evaluate the request in light of the duty to ensure the safety of the campus and to comply with state or federal law.

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 Title IX Team 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.
  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 “mandated reporters.” A Wilkes staff or faculty person who is made aware of a case of sexual misconduct, either directly or indirectly, should immediately report the information to one of the following contacts.

Title IX Coordinator

Samantha E. Hart
10 East South Street, Suite A,
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18766
Phone: (570)-408-3842
samantha.hart@wilkes.edu

Deputy Title IX Coordinator | Students

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

Deputy Title IX Coordinator | Faculty/Staff

Kristin Pitarra
Human Resources Director
10 East South Street, Suite A
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18766
Phone: (570) 408-2034
kristin.pitarra@wilkes.edu

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