The term Respondent refers to an individual who is reported to have committed an act of sexual or gender-based harassment or misconduct. If you have been accused of sexual misconduct, the investigation process can be stressful. Penn State provides a number of resources that can help you understand the University’s processes, obtain reasonable academic or other accommodations, and access University or community support services.
Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)
501 Student Health Center, University Park
CAPS provides counseling and other support services.
Office of Sexual Misconduct Prevention & Response
222 Boucke Building, University Park
The Title IX Office can help you understand the investigation process.
As a Respondent, your rights under University policy include:
- The right to have disclosures of sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, and/or sexual exploitation treated seriously.
- The right to be treated with fairness and respect throughout the process.
- The right to be informed of University policies and procedures being applied to your case, and to have those policies and procedures followed without material deviation whenever possible.
- The right to have the University keep your name and other information related to your case as confidential as possible. Information related to your case will be distributed on a need-to-know basis only. Need-to-know is typically defined by the level of information necessary to coordinate the provision of requested services, to protect the safety of individuals or community members, or to administer the University complaint process.
- The right to be accompanied by an advisor of your choice during any meeting, interview, or hearing conducted in connection with your case.
- The right to be given access to appropriate resources, support services, and interim measures in order to minimize unnecessary negative impact of the process on your educational opportunities. Available resources and interim measures may include:
- reasonable academic accommodations, including modifications to course or exam schedules, or coursework;
- housing modifications, including permanent or temporary room re-assignments, or the provision of a temporary safe space on campus;
- free confidential counseling and psychological support;
- access to free or low-cost healthcare options; and/or
- referrals to local community agencies for services.
- The right to participate, or to decline to participate, in a University process that is fair and impartial, and provides you with adequate notice and a meaningful opportunity to be heard.
- The right to be notified of the time frame for major stages of the complaint process. For example, the University typically strives to complete investigations within 60 days, whenever possible. If an investigation will extend past 60 days, you will be notified of the extension and informed of the reason why.
- The right to have a reliable, thorough, and impartial investigation of the complaint made against you, including the right to meet with an investigator to present relevant information, witnesses, and other evidence.
- The right to have a determination of the facts of your case be based on a preponderance of evidence (more likely than not standard).
- The right to be notified in writing of the outcome of any formal university conduct process related to your case.
- The right to be protected from retaliation by any member of the university community for participating in the University process.
- If/when an outcome has been determined with respect to your case, the right to access an appeal process in accordance with university policies and procedures.
- The right to discuss your experience, including any concerns regarding the University’s application of its policies or procedures, with the Title IX Coordinator.