Disciplinary Process for Sexual Assault, Relationship Violence, and Stalking

Jurisdiction

The University of Pittsburgh has the authority to take disciplinary action for conduct occurring on or off campus when the conduct, among other things, affects the educational environment. University officials will provide a prompt, fair, and impartial investigation and resolution.

If the Respondent is a Student

If the alleged Respondent is a University student, the Complainant may file a complaint against the Respondent for violation of the Student Code of Conduct. This will be resolved through an investigation. In addition, the Respondent may face criminal charges through a separate criminal process, if so initiated by the authorities.

The University may also proceed with an investigation and resolution of any reported acts of sexual assault, relationship violence, or stalking if the University determines that such an investigation and resolution are necessary to ensure the safety and well-being of University community members. In cases in which the accused student’s conduct may pose a threat to the University community, the Student Conduct Office may impose an interim suspension that occurs immediately and that lasts until the matter is resolved. 

Student Disciplinary Process: From initial meeting through investigation and outcome

In summary, upon learning of an incident of sexual misconduct including but not limited to harassment, relationship violence, stalking, or sexual assault or harassment, a trained Title IX specialist will meet with the Complainant to discuss resources, support services, interim measures, confidentiality concerns, and the Title IX process in general. If the Complainant wishes to begin an investigation, the Title IX specialist will begin the process by meeting with the Complainant and the Respondent separately.

The Title IX specialist (or designee) will then conduct a fact-finding investigation using the preponderance of the evidence standard. The Respondent will be provided with written notification that a formal complaint has been submitted and will be provided an opportunity to review the Complainant’s statement at the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. The Title IX specialist will meet separately with the Complainant and the Respondent(s) to discuss the complaint, resources, support services, interim measures, confidentiality concerns, and the Title IX process in general. The investigator will interview relevant witnesses and review relevant physical, documentary, or other evidence. 

After the Title IX specialist concludes gathering and evaluating evidence, including witness interviews, an investigation summary will be prepared. At this time, the Complainant and Respondent will have an opportunity to review, in the Title IX office, the investigative summary and to provide any comments, additional evidence, or witness questions. Both the Respondent and the Complainant will have the opportunity to review evidence gathered during the investigation or submitted by the other party. Following the receipt of any comments on the investigative summary and any necessary follow-up investigation, the Title IX specialist will prepare a final written report that includes a determination of whether a violation of any University policy or the Code has occurred and a recommendation of the sanctions to be imposed, if any. The final report will be provided first to the Title IX Coordinator for review and input. After review for compliance with Title IX, the report will be forwarded to the Dean of Students for approval of any recommended Sanctions.  The Dean of Students will have discretion to accept or alter the recommended Sanctions, as appropriate. Once the Dean has made a determination on Sanctions, either the Title IX Office or the Dean of Students will provide written notification of the completion of the Formal Complaint process, to both the Complainant and Respondent. At this time, a copy of the final Title IX report will be available in the Title IX Office for review.Both the Complainant and the Respondent may submit an appeal within five (5) working days from the date of the Dean’s decision letter.  

The process generally is completed within 60 days.  All parties are permitted advisors. Complete information on the Title IX process can be found in the Student Code of Conduct and Sexual Misconduct Policy 06-05-01.

Sanctions Involving Student Misconduct

Sanctions may include a disciplinary reprimand; a permanent no-contact order or permanent persona non grata status for some portion of or all campus locations; counseling assessment; disciplinary probation for a specified period of time; housing dismissal; disciplinary suspension for a specified period of time; disciplinary dismissal from the University; and any other appropriate measures that support the University’s commitment to address, prevent, and end the effects of sexual misconduct, including but not limited to sexual assault, relationship violence, and stalking.

If the Complainant pursues legal action in the public court system, an accused student could face criminal penalties as well.

If the Assailant is a University Employee

In summary, the University’s Title IX coordinator, or a designee, in coordination with the Office of Human Resources (for staff) and the relevant department (for faculty), will investigate reports of sexual misconduct including assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking, and will make determinations, applying a preponderance of the evidence standard, with respect to whether a policy or legal violation occurred. The investigation will be conducted by trained investigators. Both the accused and accuser are permitted to have advisors of their choice attend meetings, but the advisors may not interfere with the process and may not actively participate. When the investigative process is complete, a written report with findings and remedial recommendations will be prepared.  In general, the University attempts to complete investigations within 60 days, although for good cause that period may be longer. A letter summarizing the report will be provided to the accused and the accuser. Depending on the circumstances, the Title IX office will determine whether the immediate supervisor of the accused receives the full or summary report. The appropriate supervisor will review recommendations as to sanctions, if any. Both the accused and the accuser will receive notice of the final disciplinary sanctions, if any. 

Possible sanctions or protective measures the University may impose on a faculty or staff member following a final determination of an institutional procedure include:

  • No-contact orders
  • Mandatory training 
  • Suspension
  • Restrictions from all or part of campus
  • Employee termination from the University

Complete information on the Title IX process can be found in Sexual Misconduct Policy 06-05-01.

Seeking Protective Measures

Depending on the circumstances, you may have the option, among other remedies, to obtain no-contact orders, seek room or course changes, file an applicable University complaint, and pursue criminal complaints. For more information and assistance, you can contact the Pitt Police (412-624-2121); the Title IX coordinator in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion (412-648-7860); the Student Conduct Office (412-648-7910); and/or Pitt’s Sexual Harassment and Assault Response and Education coordinator (412-648-7930). 

Standard of Evidence

All matters before the Title IX specialist will be judged using the preponderance of the evidence standard, which means, it is more likely than not that University policy has been violated. 

Nonretaliation

Retaliation against anyone involved in the investigation of alleged incidents of sexual misconduct, whether they are the referring individual, a witness, an investigator, or anyone else, is prohibited by the University’s Statement on Confidentiality and Nonretaliation.This statement also clarifies that all individuals involved in the investigation process are expected to honor the confidentiality of the process and the information involved.