Sexual Misconduct: Frequently Asked Questions



In the event of an emergency call 9-1-1

Report to the University Police Office – 814-732-2921 - Inasmuch as all allegations of sexual assault and rape have the potential to involve criminal conduct, the university strongly encourages all complainants to first report directly to University Police. If the assault occurred off campus, call 911 and the appropriate police agency will respond. Community police officers will help. CVC Erie (814-455-9414 or 800-352-7273) also provides trained support staff to assist you.

  • Report to the Campus Police: 814-732-2921 (Edinboro Campus)
  • Report to Mr. Andrew Matt, Deputy Title IX Coordinator, at 814-732-1564
  • Do not bathe or douche - Bathing or douching might be the first thing you want to do-but don't. You might literally be washing away valuable evidence.
  • Get medical attention immediately - You could be injured-externally and internally. You could become pregnant, or you could get a sexually transmitted disease. A medical examination could also provide important evidence of rape for prosecution.
  • Wait until you have had a medical examination. Save your clothing - It's all right to change clothes, but save what you were wearing. Your clothing could be used as evidence for prosecution. Place all items in a paper bag (DO NOT utilize plastic bag as this can destroy evidence.)

Unless there are extenuating circumstances; an investigation will begin at the time the incident is reported. Time is a factor in collecting evidence. Post-assault forensic evidence, commonly referred to as a "rape kit", is best collected as soon as possible in relation to the time of the assault. Complainants should go to one of the local hospitals in Erie, PA as soon as possible after the incident. Please see #3 should you wish someone to accompany you to the hospital. Please note that University Police Officers may also transport or accompany you to the hospital.

Yes, the university will refer you to CVC Erie, SAFENET or PASSAGES to assist you.

Examination on campus is NOT provided. Please go to a local Erie, PA hospital as soon as possible after the incident so that a Post-assault forensic evidence test, or rape kit, can be done. It is important to be examined even if you do not appear to have any physical injuries. Please see #3 should you wish someone to accompany you to the hospital. Please note that University Police Officers may also transport or accompany you to the hospital.

Ghering Health and Wellness Center- Health Services 814-732-2743

There are many differences between campus and criminal charges. Campus charges are brought before the University Conduct Board, and the possible outcomes are university sanctions including campus restrictions and the possible expulsion from the university. The process follows recommendations for a timely hearing and is generally conducted prior to that of a criminal hearing.  All cases involving sexual misconduct are heard by a University Conduct Board. Criminal charges are filed by a commissioned Police Officer and brought through the Criminal Justice System. The cases are argued and defended by licensed attorneys. The penalties are greater, with fines and the possibility of imprisonment if found guilty. Both, or either, option is available to the complainant.

PennWest Edinboro strongly encourages prompt reporting of sexual offenses to the police. However, complainants of sexual misconduct have the right to decide whether to file a criminal report with the police, a report with Student Conduct, a complaint with the Office of Social Equity, an informal report, an anonymous report, or no report at all. An incident report form can be found here, by contacting Mr. Andrew Matt at 814-732-1564 or by contacting University Police at 814-732-2921.

PennWest Edinboro makes every effort to ensure confidentiality but it cannot be guaranteed. PennWest Edinboro takes your right to privacy seriously however the safety of all students, staff and faculty is of our utmost concern and, as such, we are not always able to grant full confidentially in all cases of sexual misconduct. We will do our best to protect your privacy while upholding the University's legal obligations.

Yes, if PennWest Edinboro determines there is reasonable cause to believe a violation of policy has occurred and investigates the matter. The responding party has the right to know the identity of the reporting party.


Yes, if you want formal disciplinary action to be taken against the responding party. You may report the incident without the identity of the responding party, but doing so may limit the actions taken by PennWest Edinboro. If you do not know the identity of the respondent please provide as much information as possible to aid in the investigation.

No. However, the complainant is strongly encouraged to report the incident to a University Police Officer. If there is a report of an act of alleged sexual misconduct to a conduct officer of the university or there is evidence that a felony has occurred, local police will be notified. This does not mean charges will be automatically filed or that the complainant must speak to the police, but the university is legally required to notify law enforcement.

 The University Conduct Board will conduct a hearing for charges of sexual misconduct under the Rights, Regulations, and Procedures. Both the complainant and the accused student(s) will be provided written notice of the hearing, written notice of charges, the ability to have an advocate, the ability to have witnesses, and the ability to discuss the incident and provide other relevant evidence. Both parties have the right to an appeal process.

You can contact University Police and they will refer you to the Edinboro Borough Police or Pennsylvania State Police as appropriate. A report of the incident must be reported to Mr. Andrew Matt, Deputy Title IX Coordinator.

PennWest Edinboro strongly recommends a complainant report an incident. This allows PennWest Edinboro to assist the complainant and to hold someone accountable for the incident. However, if you do not wish to report the University asks that you access assistance through on and off campus confidential resources such as Counseling Services or SAFENET. You may also contact RAINN (Rape, Incest & Abuse National Network) at 1-800-656-HOPE.

Do not contact the reporting party. If you are accused of Sexual Misconduct, you are strongly urged to retain private legal counsel. You have a right to have an advisor assist you through the process and be present during a Student Conduct Hearing, if one should occur. You may also speak confidentially with a counselor, on or off campus, or seek other community assistance. Faculty and staff may be accompanied by any person of their choosing from within the university community during the informal process or meetings for the purpose of consultation. If either party is covered under a collective bargaining agreement with the university, they will be informed of their right to union representation.

University Resources such as the Student Conduct Office, Counseling Services, and Police are all free resources for students. Faculty and staff can contact Human Resources for information on the State Employee Assistance Program (SEAP).

The University will make every reasonable effort to relocate the complainant to a safe location or residence. Room changes under these circumstances are regarded as an emergency and there are no fees associated with the relocation. Should the complainant request the respondent be the one to move to another residence hall, that request will be evaluated by the Title IX Coordinator, or designee, to determine if it can be honored.

If you are a friend or family member of the complainant, the most important support you can initially offer is to listen, believe the complainant and encourage them to enlist the assistance of those available to assist them.

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

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.

  • University Police: 814-732-2921
  • Andrew Matt, Title IX Coordinator: 814-732-1564
  • Student Conduct: 814-732-2920 Pogue Student Center
  • Ghering Health and Wellness Center- Health Services 814-732-2743
  • In the event of an emergency CALL 911

Bystander Intervention

Every individual has the ability to help create a culture of civility, respect and responsibility on campus and in the Edinboro community. Employees and students are encouraged to become active bystanders, those who observe a concerning situation and take steps to safely and effectively intervene. PennWest Edinboro will offer “Step-Up Bystander Training” to aid those in becoming active bystanders.

As bystanders witness a potentially concerning situation, some options for assistance include:

Contact the Title IX Coordinator (814-393-2019) or Student Conduct Office (814-732-2920).