As outlined in Emergency Support Services in the Event of a Sexual Assault section of this policy, the College encourages all individuals to seek assistance from a medical provider and/or law enforcement immediately after an incident of sexual violence.
Law Enforcement | Campus Options | Anonymous | Considerations |
Timliness |Amnesty | Retaliation | False Reporting | Reports Involving Minors
The College encourages all community members to report sexual assault and harassment in order to achieve a campus environment that maximizes its community members’ academic pursuits and positive feelings of community. The College will respond to any information it receives, whether from a complainant or third party or anonymously against a named respondent.
The College is committed to providing a variety of welcoming and accessible means of reporting sexual misconduct so that all instances of sexual assault or harassment will be reported. All Swarthmore community members, even those who are not obligated by the College’s Sexual Assault and Harassment Policy, are strongly encouraged to report information regarding any incident of sexual assault or harassment to the interim Title IX coordinator. The interim Title IX coordinator is specifically charged with coordinating the initial assessment, initiating the investigation, and responding to allegations of sexual assault or harassment to stop the harassing conduct, address its effects, and prevent its recurrence.
With the exception of those employees who have legally recognized confidentiality (Worth Health Center employees, Counseling and Psychological Services counselors, and Religious Advisers), all College employees, including faculty, staff, administrators, and student employees or volunteers who have responsibility for the welfare of other students, are required to share with the Title IX Coordinator any report of sexual assault or harassment they receive or of which they become aware. Student employees and volunteers who are required to share reports with the interim Title IX coordinator include, for example, resident assistants (RAs), Sexual Misconduct Advisers and Resource Team (SMARTeam), Acquaintance Sexual Assault Prevention (ASAP), Student Academic Mentors (SAMs), Drug and Alcohol Response Team members (DART Team), and party associates (PAs). These individuals are required to share with the interim Title IX coordinator all information of which they are aware, including the identities of the parties in the sexual misconduct, if known.
At the time a report is made, a complainant does not have to decide whether or not to request disciplinary action. Choosing to make a report and deciding how to proceed after making the report can be a process that unfolds over time. To the extent possible, the College will respect an individual’s autonomy in making these important decisions and provide support that will assist each individual in making that determination.
The College recognizes that not every individual will be prepared to make a report to the College or to law enforcement, and individuals are not expected or required to pursue a specific course of action. As outlined in the Resources section of this policy, there are confidential resources on campus and in the community available to individuals who want support, regardless of whether they currently plan to make a report to the College. Information shared with these confidential resources will not be reported to the College.
As outlined in the Statement Regarding Privacy, the College respects the privacy interests of students, faculty, and staff. All information reported to the Title IX team will be shared only with those College employees or agents who will assist in the investigation and/or resolution of the complaint.
The interim Title IX coordinator, working with the Title IX team, will ensure that the College responds to all reports in a timely, effective, and consistent manner. The Title IX team consists of the interim Title IX coordinator, deputy Title IX coordinators, the dean of students, senior class dean and judicial affairs coordinator, director of public safety, and others, as applicable. The Title IX team is charged with coordinating the review, investigation, and resolution of all reports to ensure consistent responsiveness, and the integrated provision of interim measures to support the individuals involved and to protect the College community. The College is committed to using a consistent and informed response to create a culture of accountability. The Title IX team is positioned to provide seamless support, assess individual and campus safety, and effectively respond to allegations of sexual assault and harassment.
The College will promptly review and respond to all reports of sexual assault and harassment in an integrated, consistent manner that treats each individual with dignity and respect. The College will approach each report with an earnest intent to understand the perspective and experiences of each individual involved in order to ensure fair and impartial evaluation and resolution.
The College encourages complainants to pursue criminal action for incidents of sexual assault or harassment that may also be crimes under Pennsylvania criminal statutes. The College will assist a complainant, at the complainant’s request, in contacting local law enforcement and will cooperate with law enforcement agencies if a complainant decides to pursue the criminal process to the extent permitted by law. Except where the complainant is less than 18 years old, the College will generally respect a complainant’s choice whether or not to report an incident to local law enforcement, unless the College determines that there is an overriding issue with respect to the safety or welfare of the College community. Where a report involves suspected abuse of a minor less than 18, the College is required by state law to notify law enforcement and/or the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare division of Child Welfare Services.
The College’s policy, definitions, and burden of proof may differ from Pennsylvania criminal law. A complainant may seek resolution through the College’s complaint process, may pursue criminal action, may choose one but not the other, or may choose both. Neither law enforcement’s determination whether or not to prosecute a respondent nor the outcome of any criminal prosecution are determinative of whether sexual assault or harassment has occurred under this policy. Proceedings under the College’s Interim Sexual Assault and Harassment Policy may be carried out prior to, simultaneously with, or following civil or criminal proceedings off campus.
The College recognizes that a student or employee may choose to report sexual assault or harassment to any employee of the College. For example, a student may choose to confide in an assistant dean, a resident assistant, a faculty member, or a coach. An employee may choose to confide in a supervisor or colleague. Under this policy, any employee, other than those deemed confidential by law, who receives a report of sexual assault or harassment is required to share the report with the interim Title IX coordinator.
To enable the College to respond to all reports in a prompt and equitable manner, the College encourages all individuals to directly report any incident to the interim Title IX coordinator, a deputy Title IX coordinator, public safety official, or the Dean of Students Office.
Campus Reporting Options
Interim Title IX Coordinator│Patricia Flaherty Fischette
Parrish Hall North 283│610-690-3720
Dean of Students│Liz Braun
Dean's Office, Parrish Hall 108/140│(610) 328-8365
Director of Public Safety│Michael J. Hill
Benjamin West House│610-328-8067
Deputy Title IX Coordinator│Lili Rodriguez
Associate Dean of Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Development
Parrish Hall 140 | 610-690-5767
Deputy Title IX Coordinator│Patricia Reilly
Associate Provost for Faculty Development and Outreach and Associate Professor of Art History
Beardsley 205, Parrish Hall 249 | 610-690-3730
Deputy Title IX Coordinator│Zenobia Hargust
Human Resources Manager
Deputy Title IX Coordinator│Nnenna Akotaobi
Associate Athletics Director and Senior Woman Administrator
Fieldhouse 161 │610-328-8222
Any individual may make an anonymous report concerning an act of sexual assault or harassment. An individual may report the incident without disclosing one’s name, identifying the respondent, or requesting any action. Depending on the level of information available about the incident or the individuals involved, anonymous reporting may impact the College’s ability to respond or take further action.
The College has created an online form for reporting. As with all other reports, all anonymous reports will go to public safety and the interim Title IX coordinator for review and appropriate response and action. Where there is sufficient information, the College will ensure that anonymous reports are reviewed and included for compliance with the Clery Act.
1. Timeliness of Report, Location of Incident
Complainants and third-party witnesses are encouraged to report sexual assault and harassment as soon as possible in order to maximize the College’s ability to respond promptly and effectively. The College does not, however, limit the timeframe for reporting. If the respondent is no longer a student or employee, the College may not be able to take judicial action against the respondent, but it will still seek to meet its Title IX obligation by taking steps to end the harassment, prevent its recurrence, and address its effects.
An incident does not have to occur on campus to be reported to the College. Off-campus conduct that is likely to have a substantial adverse effect on any member of the Swarthmore College community or Swarthmore College may be covered under this policy.
The College seeks to remove any barriers to reporting. The College will generally offer any student, whether the complainant or a third party, who reports sexual assault or harassment limited immunity from being charged for policy violations related to the personal ingestion of alcohol or other drugs, provided that any such violations did not and do not place the health and safety of any person at risk. The College may choose, however, to pursue educational or therapeutic remedies for those individuals.
As stated above, retaliation is a violation of College policy. The College recognizes that retaliation can take many forms, may be committed by or against an individual or a group, and that a respondent or third party may also be the subject of retaliation by another individual, including the complainant.
An individual reporting sexual assault or harassment is entitled to protection from any form of retaliation following a report that is made in good faith, even if the report is not later substantiated.
The College takes validity of information very seriously as a charge of sexual assault or harassment may have severe consequences.
A complainant who makes a report that is later found to have been intentionally false or made maliciously without regard for truth may be subject to disciplinary action. This provision does not apply to reports made in good faith, even if the facts alleged in the report are not substantiated by an investigation.
Similarly, a respondent or witness who is later proven to have intentionally given false information during the course of an investigation or judicial action may be subject to disciplinary action.
Any Swarthmore College employee who has reasonable cause to suspect abuse of a child (an individual under the age of 18) that the employee has come into contact with during the course of employment must make a report to the Department of Public Safety, which will facilitate a report to local law enforcement and the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare division of Child Welfare Services. All other members of the Swarthmore College community (students, visitors, guests, etc.) are strongly encouraged to report whenever child abuse is suspected.
Reports directly to the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare’s ChildLine and Abuse Registry can be made anonymously (800-932-0313 or online). In order to ensure that the College gives the suspected abuse appropriate attention, employees are also required to report suspected abuse internally as described in the following steps.
Internal reports will be handled with discretion and in cooperation with the state’s Department of Public Welfare or local authorities. To report suspected abuse, if the child is in immediate danger, call ext. 8333 (if on campus) or 911.
To report suspected abuse, if the child is not in immediate danger, call:
- Swarthmore College Department of Public Safety at 610-328-8333 and Swarthmore Borough Police Department at 610-543-0123; or
- Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare’s ChildLine at 800-932-0313.
For additional information, consult the College's full policy on Reporting Child Abuse.