Title IX

Sexual Violence Awareness

Gwynedd Mercy University Sexual Misconduct Policy (link coming)
Sexual Misconduct Report Form

Frequently Asked Questions

Resources

What is Title IX? 

Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 is a federal law that states: 

"No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance."

Title IX Notice of Nondiscrimination:

As a recipient of Federal funds, Gwynedd Mercy University is required to comply with Title IX of the Higher Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq. (“Title IX”), which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in educational programs or activities, admission and employment. Under certain circumstances, Sexual Misconduct constitutes sexual discrimination prohibited by Title IX. In addition, the University complies with Section 304 of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 (“VAWA”). 

The University complies with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972(Title IX) and its underlying regulations, which prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs and activities.

If you are in need of assistance due to sexual harassment or sexual misconduct, here’s how we can help:

Resources: If you need information on counseling, health or related services our staff can provide referrals to both on and off-campus providers.

Interim Measures: Examples of these measures include but are not limited to, a change in housing assignments for students, a No-Contact- Order for students, faculty or staff, or other interim measures as related to your Title IX concern. We are able to help you with those processes.

Reporting: If you wish to file a formal complaint, are not sure of what action to take, are seeking advice as to how to proceed the Title IX office can walk you through the options available and provide contacts with the appropriate offices.
Inquiries concerning the application of Title IX and VAWA may be referred to the University’s Title IX Coordinator or to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.

Gwynedd Mercy’s Title IX Coordinator is:

Robert Wood 
215-646-7300  Ext. 21140 
wood.r@gmercyu.edu. 
Connelly Faculty Center, Room #114

What Is Sexual Violence? 

Definitions according to the Gwynedd Mercy University Sexual Misconduct Policy:

Sexual Assault: Sexual assault is any type of sexual conduct or contact that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient

Nonconsensual Sexual Intercourse: Any sexual penetration (anal, oral, vaginal) however slight, with any object or body part by a person of any gender, age, or sexual orientation, that is without consent.

Nonconsensual Sexual Contact: Any intentional sexual touching that is without consent, however slight, with any object or body part by a person of any gender, age, or sexual orientation.

Consent: Consent is an informed decision made freely and actively by all parties. Conduct will be considered “without consent” if no clear consent, verbal or nonverbal, is given. Because sexual misconduct is defined as sexual activity that is undertaken without consent, each participant must obtain and give consent to each sexual act. 

  • At any and all times when consent is withdrawn or not verbally agreed upon, the sexual activity must stop immediately.
  • Consent to some levels of sexual activity does not imply consent to all levels of sexual activity. Each new level of sexual activity requires consent.
  • Anyone under the age of 16 cannot give consent.

Incapacitation: Incapacitated persons cannot give consent. One who is incapacitated as a result of alcohol or other drug consumption (voluntarily or involuntarily), or who is unconscious, unaware, or otherwise helpless, is incapable of giving consent. One must not engage in sexual activity with another whom one knows (or should reasonably know) to be incapacitated. Physically incapacitated persons are considered incapable of giving effective consent when they lack the ability to appreciate the fact that the situation is sexual, and/or cannot rationally and reasonably appreciate the nature and extent of that situation. 

Sexual Exploitation: Sexual exploitation occurs when a person takes non-consensual or unjust sexual advantage of another for their own advantage or benefit, or to benefit another person than the one being exploited.

What Is Dating Violence?

Definitions according to the Gwynedd Mercy University Sexual Misconduct Policy:

Dating violence is defined as abuse committed by a person, past or present, involved in a social, sexual, or romantic relationship with the victim. Dating violence can include a range of behaviors that may include physical violence, sexual violence, emotional violence, and economic violence. 

Dating Violence can include:

  • Physical assault (such as shoving, kicking or punching) 
  • Verbal abuse (such as belittling or calling names) 
  • Controlling behavior (such as not letting the victim see friends)
  •  Sexual abuse (such as forced kissing, hugging or sexual contact) 
  • Psychological abuse (such as threatening to hurt the victim or family or friends, or instill fear) 

What Is Domestic Violence?

Definitions according to the Gwynedd Mercy University Sexual Misconduct Policy:

Domestic violence is defined as abuse committed by a current or former spouse of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabited with the victim as a spouse or someone similarly situated to a spouse, or by any other person from whom the victim is protected under the domestic or family violence laws. 

Domestic Violence can include: 

  • Physical assault (such as shoving, kicking or punching) 
  • Verbal abuse (such as belittling or calling names) 
  • Controlling behavior (such as not letting the victim see friends and/or family, telling the victim what to wear) 
  • Sexual abuse (such as forced kissing, hugging or sexual contact) 
  • Psychological abuse (such as threatening to hurt the victim or family or friends, or instill fear) 

What Is Sexual Harassment

Definitions according to the Gwynedd Mercy University Sexual Misconduct Policy:

Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other harassing conduct of a sexual nature whether intentional or not. The unwanted conduct can be verbal, non-verbal, graphic, gestures, or physical. Sexual harassment occurs when the conditions for (1) and/or (2), below, are present: 

Gender Based Harassment includes harassment based on gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity which may include acts of intimidation, aggression, or hostility, whether verbal, non-verbal, graphic, physical or otherwise, even if the acts do not involve conduct of a sexual nature, when the conductions for (1) and/or (2), below, are present: 

(1) QUID PRO QUO: This for That

  • Submission to the unwelcome conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment or status in a course, program, or activity; or 
  • Submission to or rejection of the unwelcome conduct by an individual is used as the basis for an academic or employment-related decision affecting such an individual; or 

(2) HOSTILE ENVIRONMENT: 

  • The unwelcome conduct of is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive as to substantially limit or interfere with an individual’s work, educational performance, participation in extra-curricular activities, or equal access to the University’s resources and opportunities; or 
  • Such contact, act or acts that creates an intimidating, hostile, or abusive living, working, or educational environment. 

Tips for Supporting a Victim Survivor 

It may be hard to know what say when you learn that someone you know has experienced sexual assault, relationship violence or stalking. These suggestions will encourage and benefit the victim survivor in a supportive way that can help them feel less isolated and safer.

  • Listen Letting a victim survivor speak and direct the conversation can help them regain a sense of control. Let them decide what they want to talk about and when they want to talk about it.
  • Believe them Our culture often makes it very difficult to talk about sexual violence, and the fear of not being believed is a very real concern for people who have been victimized. Don’t contribute to that fear.
  • Empower them Assure the victim survivor that they are not to blame for the violence, no matter what the circumstances of the assault were. It is also important and empowering for the victim survivor to make their own decisions about reporting.
  • Do not judge how the victim survivor reacted during or after the incident. Understand that they handled the situation the best they could.
  • Be mindful when asking about the incident. You do not want to seem judgmental, condescending or otherwise unsupportive.
  • Be supportive of the victim survivor decisions. Victim survivors have a number of options and resources that may seem overwhelming. Whether or not they report the incident, press charges, attend counseling, etc., is not up to you. But, don’t be entirely uninvolved — they might ask for your opinion or advice, to seek both medical and emotional help can be positive.
  • Be respectful of the victim survivors privacy. The victim survivor deserves their space and this time to themselves.
  • Accept that there might be changes in the victim survivor's personality or in your relationship. Sexual violence is a traumatic experience that can change a person, and the healing process takes time.
  • Be aware that you might need support as well. Take care of yourself and address your feelings.
  • Be careful not to overwhelm the victim survivor with your own emotions. If you seek support from someone, be sure to maintain the victim survivor's anonymity. 

Resources for the LGBTQIA Community

LGBTQIA individuals experience rates of sexual violence higher than people who identify as heterosexual.  Reporting sexual violence as a LGBTQIA individual can bring additional difficulties as reporting may raise concerns regarding disclosure during the reporting process. These are very real concerns but we strongly encourage you to seek the support and resources available to you on campus and in the community.

Resources for LGBTQIA individuals include: 

  • Campus Counseling Services: Email counseling@gmercyu.edu or contact Pamela Moore, M.S., LPC, at moore.pamela@gmercyu.edu or 215-641-5571.
  • GMercyU Support Core Team
  • LGBTQIA Resources
  • Title IX Coordinator, Robert Wood, 215-646-7300 Ext 2140. wood.r@gmercyu.edu
  • Mazzoni Center Philadelphia, 215-563-0652
  •  Philadelphia LGBTQ Police Liaison, email at DC_Patrol_Operations@phila.gov.
  • The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape has resources for those who identify as LGBTQ FORGE  

Resources for Families

  • Understand if your child doesn’t tell you about the incident immediately or if they don’t come to you first. There are a number of reasons why they might avoid telling you about it.  Rather than focusing on why they delayed coming to you, you should direct your energy into helping them heal. Don’t ask them to defend or justify their decision.
  • Be honest with your child about your feelings — it’s ok to admit that it’s a difficult topic to discuss, but be clear that you are willing to talk and listen about anything.
  • Control your emotions when talking to your child about the incident. You will probably feel many things including sadness, anger, guilt or even shame, but try not to let your feelings overshadow those of your child. It is hard for children to see their parents struggle, and they might feel guilty for upsetting you if your emotions get out of hand.
  • Realize that you can’t fix the problem. You might feel tempted to push your child to seek legal justice or other types of “solutions," but there is no way to make an assault go away. Let your child make their own decisions and be supportive of those choices.
  • Don’t forget to take care of yourself and spend time coming to terms with your own feelings about the assault — seek professional help if you need to. Among other emotions, you might be feeling guilty.

Here is additional information for families of sexual violence survivors.

Resources for Faculty and Staff 

As a faculty or staff member, you are in the position of being able to offer help and advise students who may disclose sexual violence to you.

How to help a student if they disclose:

  • Listen, believe and support the student.  Provide the following options for care and support: 
  • Remind the student you are a mandated reporter and must inform the Title IX Coordinator. That does not mean the student must file a complaint. The Title IX Coordinator will contact them, to assist them as they wish to be assisted.
  • Advise the student they have access to campus assistance, i.e. Counseling Services, Campus Ministry, Title IX.
  • Call the Title IX Coordinator at 215-646-7300 ext.21140

Clery Act

Gwynedd Mercy University complies with the Clery Act which requires all Campus Security Authorities, those who have significant responsibility for student activities such as club advisors, resident assistants, coaches to report to University Public Safety allegations of Clery Act crimes, including dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking. The University will issue campus timely warnings if a report is timely and there is a reasonable belief someone else may be the target of the same offender(s).

Title IX Syllabi Statement (PDF)

Help from the University

Gywnedd Mercy University provides the following resources and services on campus to support victim survivors of sexual violence.

If you are in need of help please contact one of the numbers below:

Counseling Services: 215-641-5571, ext. 21571
Campus Ministry: 215-646-7300, ext. 21590
Health and Wellness Center: 215-646-7300, ext. 21486
Office of Public Safety: 215-641-5522, ext. 1111
Title IX Coordinator: 215-646-7300, ext. 21140
*Please note:  When using a campus phone you must first dial 9 on campus to obtain an outside line

Help from the Police

The Office of Public Safety at Gwynedd Mercy University is committed to the safety and security of our students, faculty, staff and visitors. Our primary concern is to nurture and sustain a safe environment for you to learn, live and work.

On Campus:

For emergencies:
215-641-5522 ext. 21111

For non-urgent matters
2
15-646-7300, ext. 21522.

Local Law Enforcement:

Lower Gwynedd Township Police Department
215-646-5303

North Wales Borough Police Department
215-699-9279

Philadelphia Police Department Center City 6th District
215-686-3060

Bensalem Police Department
215-639-3700

Help from the Community

Victim’s Services Center Montgomery County
610-277-0932
24 Hour Hotline: 1-888-521-0983

Woman Against Rape (WOAR)
215-985-3315
24 Hour Hotline: 215-985-3333

Laurel House
610-277-1860 

Philadelphia Sexual Assault Response Center
215-425-1625

Network of Victim Assistance (Nova)
215-343-6543
24 Hour Hotline: 1-800-675-6900

Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN)
1-800-656-4673

National Domestic Violence (NDV)
Hotline: 1-800-799-7233

I Don’t Know What to Do

What happened is not your fault. Please do not try to handle it alone. Get to a safe place. Get some support. Tell someone. Call a friend. Get medical help. Call a hotline i.e. RAINN, 1-800-656-4673; WOAR, 215-985-3333; NOVA, 1-800-675-6900; VSC Montgomery County, 1-888-521-0983.

Please consider calling the police, the Counseling Center, or the University's Title IX Coordinator. You do not need to pursue a complaint, but these individuals can help you obtain the services you may need.