At PLNU, we believe every individual has the right to be treated with dignity and respect. As part of our mission and vision, this site is offered as a resource to PLNU students, staff, and faculty.
Sexual Assault Reporting
Anonymous Incident Report Form
Please fill out an incident report form.
Reporting a Sexual Assault
If you or someone you know has experienced gender-based misconduct, including sexual assault, you can report that to any PLNU employee. All PLNU faculty and staff are considered “responsible employees,” meaning they can direct you to the appropriate resources. Please see the information provided that explains the difference between a private and confidential report.
If a situation is life threatening, contact 911 immediately.
Private vs. Confidential Resources
The term private means the professionals will respond with respect, privacy, and discretion. Please know that with private resources, the information you share will result in a mandatory report to campus authorities in accordance with federal guidelines and to promote campus safety. And while all PLNU faculty and staff are considered responsible employees and can assist a student, below is a list of on-campus personnel who have been trained and are ready to help.
Dr. Caye Smith
Vice President for Student Development
Title IX Coordinator
All PLNU faculty and staff are considered responsible employees and will assist a student according to the resources described here.
The term confidential means everything you discuss with those professionals remains between you and that agency in confidence, with the exception of a few critical situations. Any exceptions to confidentiality will be explained at the first contact. Below is a list of confidential resources for students:
What Happens When a Report is Filed?
Here is an overview of what happens when a report is filed.
What to Do if You Experience a Sexual Assault
Get to a Safe Place
Get to a safe place and contact an on- or off-campus resource.
Seek Medical Attention
It is extremely important you seek medical attention as soon as possible — preferably within 72 hours — because you could be injured internally as well as externally by the attack. A prompt medical examination will test for pregnancy, STDs, and HIV. A medical examination can secure valuable evidence that can be used later should you wish to have the assailant prosecuted. Do not drink, bathe, douche, brush your teeth, change clothing, or comb your hair. It's only natural to want to do these things, but you may be destroying evidence you will need if you decide to prosecute at a later date. Put all clothing, bedding, and other evidence in a paper (not plastic) bag. In the course of your medical examination, this evidence will be collected by the hospital staff.
Counseling is a very important step in helping someone who has been sexually assaulted regain control over her or his life and start the healing process. Professional counseling services in the area, both on- and off-campus, can be of assistance. During business hours (8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.), you can reach a counselor by calling the PLNU Wellness Center at (619) 849-2574. When making an appointment, please note that the administrative staff are NOT a confidential resource. If you would like to make a confidential disclosure, please wait until you are speaking with your clinician. When making your appointment, simply indicate the matter is of an urgent personal or confidential nature, and no further information will be required. After hours, call the Department of Public Safety at (619) 849-2525.
How to Support a Survivor of Sexual Assault
Believe Your Friend
Remember it's often very difficult for survivors to come forward and share their story, and your reaction may affect whether or not they choose to continue to share this information with others and seek further support. Tell your friend you believe him or her and you want to support him or her in any way you can.
Don't share your friend's story with others unless you have that person's permission to do so.
It is natural when listening to a story to want to ask questions and get details about what transpired. In this situation, however, it is best to allow the survivor to control what and how much they would like to tell you about the incident. You should listen actively and non-judgmentally. Reiterate that you are there to listen and support, and allow the survivor to dictate when and how much they wish to say.
Assure Your Friend That it is Not His or Her Fault
Self-blame is common among victims of sexual violence. It is important that, as their friend, you help the survivor understand that no matter what happened — it was not their fault.
Allow Your Friend to Control Next Steps
It is natural to want to try to fix the problem, but know that healing from this event will take a great deal of time and your friend must maintain the ability to choose how they wish to go about that healing process. You may provide advice, guidance, and information about their options for additional support, but allow your friend to decide if, when, and how they will pursue these resources. If your friend is hesitant to get help from any outside sources, even those you know are supportive and helpful, offer to go with her/him. Reassure your friend that he/she can speak confidentially with a counselor at The Wellness Center. As a reminder, if your friend would like to make a confidential disclosure, he/she should wait until he/she is speaking with a clinician. When making the appointment, simply indicate the matter is of an urgent personal or confidential nature, and no further information will be required.
Don't Forget to Support Yourself
Supporting a friend through a trauma can be a difficult and emotionally draining experience for those in the support role as well. Recognize this and don't hesitate to seek help and support for yourself when you need it. You cannot effectively support your friend without being mindful of your own health and wellbeing.
What is Gender-Based Harassment?
Acts of verbal, nonverbal, or physical aggression, intimidation, stalking, or hostility based on gender or gender-stereotyping constitute gender-based harassment. Gender-based harassment can occur if individuals are harassed either for exhibiting what is perceived as a stereotypical characteristic of their sex, or for failing to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity or femininity. To constitute harassment, the conduct must be such that it has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s academic performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, demeaning, or offensive living or learning environment.
What is Dating Violence?
The use of physical violence, coercion, threats, intimidation, isolation, stalking, or other forms of emotional, sexual, or economic abuse directed toward a partner in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature constitutes dating violence. This includes any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, or injure someone. The existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of the following factors: length of the relationship, type of relationship, or frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship. Dating violence can be a single act or a pattern of behavior in relationships. Examples may include the following:
- Pulling hair
- Damaging one’s property
- Driving recklessly to scare someone
- Harassment directed toward a current or former partner
- Threats of abuse such as threatening to hit, harm, or use a weapon on another (whether victim or acquaintance, friend, or family member of the victim), or other forms of verbal threats
What is Stalking?
Stalking is a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for his or her safety or the safety of others, or suffer substantial emotional distress. A course of conduct is defined as “a pattern of actions over a period of time, however short, evidencing a continuity of conduct.” Stalking includes any behaviors or activities occurring on more than one occasion that collectively instill fear in an individual, and/or threaten her or his safety, mental health, or physical health. Such behaviors and activities may include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Non-consensual communication including face-to-face communication, telephone calls, voice messages, text messages, email messages, instant messages, written letters, gifts, or any other communications that are undesired and/or place another person in fear
- Use of online, electronic, or digital technologies including:
- Posting of pictures or information in chat rooms or websites
- Sending unwanted/unsolicited email or talk requests
- Posting private or public messages on Internet sites, social networking sites, and/or school bulletin boards
- Installing spyware on an individual’s computer
- Using Global Positioning Systems (GPS) to monitor an individual
- Pursuing, waiting, or showing up uninvited at a workplace, place of residence, classroom, or other locations frequented by an individual
- Surveillance and other types of observation, whether by physical proximity or electronic means
- Non-consensual touching
- Direct physical and/or verbal threats against an individual or his or her loved ones
- Gathering information about an individual from family, friends, co-workers, and/or classmates
- Manipulative and controlling behaviors, such as threats to harm oneself or threats to harm someone close to the individual
- Defamation (lying to others about the individual, etc.)
What is Sexual Misconduct?
PLNU strictly prohibits sexual misconduct in all forms. Students found responsible for violating this policy will face disciplinary sanctions, up to and including dismissal from the university. Sexual misconduct includes the following:
- Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse, which includes but is not limited to, penetration of a bodily orifice (vagina, anus, or mouth) by an object or by a body part and/or non-consensual fellatio or cunnilingus with anyone without consent, or attempts to commit the same after lack or withdrawal of consent has been communicated.
- Non-Consensual Contact, which includes but is not limited to, intentional physical contact of a sexual nature (touching breasts, buttocks, or pubic area) with anyone without consent, or attempts to commit the same after lack or withdrawal of consent has been communicated. In addition, any disrobing of another or exposure to another without consent may also constitute non-consensual sexual contact.
- Sexual Exploitation, which occurs when a student takes advantage of another without his/her consent for his/her own advantage or benefit, to benefit or advantage anyone other than the one being exploited, or behavior that does not otherwise constitute one of the other offenses specifically noted in the Gender-Based Misconduct Policy. Examples of sexual exploitation include, but are not limited to:
- Sexual exhibitionism
- Prostitution or the solicitation of a prostitute, escort or the solicitation of an escort
- Non-consensual video, photographing, or audiotaping of sexual activity and/or distribution of these materials via mediums such as the
- Going beyond the boundaries of consent (e.g., allowing people to watch consensual sex without knowledge of the participants)
- Peeping or other voyeurism
- Knowingly transmitting a sexually transmitted infection (STI) to another individual
- The use of drugs or alcohol to render another person physically or psychologically incapacitated as a precursor to or part of sexual activity
- Sexual harassment, which includes, but is not limited to sexual advances, whether or not they involve physical touching
- Requests for sexual favors in exchange for actual or promised job or academic benefits, such as favorable reviews, salary increases, promotions, increased benefits, or academic advantages
- Lewd or sexually suggestive comments, jokes innuendos, or gestures, including stripping and/or the solicitation of stripping
- Displaying sexually suggestive objects, pictures, magazines, or cartoons
- Commenting about or inappropriately touching an individual’s body
- Inquiries or discussion about an individual’s sexual experiences or activities and other written or oral references to sexual conduct
What is Consent?
Consent means informed, freely, and voluntarily given agreement, communicated by clearly understandable words or actions, to participate in each form of sexual activity. Consent is mutually understandable when a reasonable person would consider the words or actions of the parties to have demonstrated agreement between them to participate in the sexual activity. Consent will not be assumed by silence, impairment due to alcohol or drugs, unconsciousness, sleep, physical impairment, or lack of active resistance. Specifically, consent may never be given by minors; mentally disabled persons; those who are unconscious, unaware, or otherwise physically helpless; or those who are incapacitated as a result of alcohol or other drug consumption (voluntary or involuntary).
In the absence of mutually understandable words or actions, neither party should assume it is permissible to engage in sexual activity.
A person who wishes to engage in sexual activity must ensure he/she has the consent from his/her partner. Consent to some form(s) of sexual activity does not necessarily mean consent to other forms of sexual activity. Consent to sexual activity may be withdrawn at any time, as long as the withdrawal is communicated, at which point all sexual activity for which consent has been withdrawn must cease. Acquiescence to sexual activity based on the use of fraud or force (actual or implied), whether that force be physical force, threats, intimidation, or coercion, is never consent.
Incapacitation is a state of extreme intoxication in which an individual is unable to give consent because he or she lacks the capacity to understand the "who, what, when, where, why, or how" of the sexual interaction. A person who knows or should have reasonably known another person is incapacitated may not engage in sexual activity with that person.
Additional Clarification Regarding Sexual Misconduct
A person who is the object of sexual aggression (actual or threatened force) is not required to physically, verbally, or otherwise resist a sexual aggressor.
While a person’s nonverbal actions can constitute consent, verbal communication between two people is the best way to ensure each person knows the intentions of the other person.
Previous sexual relations or a current or past intimate/romantic relationship between two people is not the equivalent of consent to future sexual activity.
Use of alcohol or other drugs does not excuse a violation of the Sexual Misconduct Policy.
Attempts to commit sexual misconduct and/or aiding the commission of sexual misconduct as an accomplice are also prohibited under this policy.
Title IX and Non-Discrimination Policies
Title IX Coordinator
Caye Smith, Psy. D.
Vice President for Student Development
Office Phone: (619) 849-247
Office Location: 3rd Floor of Nicholson Commons, Room 303
Title IX Committee Members
Caye Barton Smith, Psy.D.
Vice President for Student Development
Title IX Coordinator
Assistant to Title IX Coordinator
Jeff Bolster, Ph.D.
Dean of Students
Associate Dean of Teacher Education & Bakersfield Regional Center
Associate Professor of Education
Director for Athletics
Representative for Intercollegiate Athletics
Associate Athletic Director for Compliance and Senior Woman Administrator
Alternate Representative for Intercollegiate Athletics
Associate Vice President for Human Resources
Representative for Faculty and Staff
Dave Phillips, D.Min.
Dean of the College of Extended Learning
Representative for Extended Learning
Jamie Ressler, DBA
Associate Dean of Graduate Business Education
Representative for San Diego-based Graduate Education
Filing a Gender-Based Misconduct Report
A person who believes he/she was the victim of another’s gender-based misconduct (Policy S1.14) is encouraged to report the incident. Several options for reporting are available:
File a Report with the University: Students can report gender-based misconduct to a university official, such as officials within Student Development or Public Safety, Resident Assistants, Residence Directors, or a Title IX Coordinator/Deputy. PLNU recognizes the following individual as the Title IX Coordinator/Deputy:
Dr. Caye Smith
Vice President for Student Development
Office Phone: (619) 849-2479
Third Floor of Nicholson Commons, Room 303
PLNU's Sexual Harassment Policy
The university is committed to maintaining an environment that is free from sexual harassment. In keeping with this commitment, we do not tolerate sexual harassment by anyone, including students, faculty, staff, or vendors of the university. The Office of Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education defines sexual harassment under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 as consisting of “verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, imposed on the basis of sex, by an employee or agent of a recipient that denies, limits, provides different, or conditions the provision of aid, benefits, services, or treatment protected under Title IX.”
Sexual harassment is any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature. This may include sexual advances; requests for sexual favors; and other verbal, physical, or visual conduct based on sex when:
- Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly as a term or condition of an individual’s employment or education
- Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for academic or employment decisions affecting the individual
- Such conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual’s academic or professional performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive employment or educational environment
Sexual harassment encompasses any sexual attention that is unwanted and can take many forms, but most sexual harassment falls into three categories: verbal, visual, and physical.
Sexual harassment is especially serious when it threatens relationships between teacher and student, or supervisor and subordinate. In such situations, sexual harassment exploits unfairly the power inherent in a faculty member’s or supervisor’s position.
Through grades, wage increases, recommendations for graduate study, promotion, and the like, a teacher or supervisor can have a decisive influence on a student’s, staff member’s, or faculty member’s career at the university and beyond. While sexual harassment most often takes place in situations involving a power differential between persons, PLNU also recognizes sexual harassment may occur between persons of the same status within the university. PLNU will not tolerate behavior between or among members of the university community that creates an unacceptable work or educational environment.
Any student who feels he or she has experienced or witnessed harassment should, when possible, inform the harasser the conduct is unwelcome and must stop. If the student does not wish to confront the harasser, or if confrontation has not been effective, the courses of action noted below should be taken if a student has experienced or witnessed sexual harassment in any university context, such as the following examples:
- As an employee of the university
- From a student peer
- From a faculty member
- From a staff member
- As a student volunteer or intern at an off-campus site
The student should report the incident to the University Sexual Harassment Officer, the Vice President for Student Development, Dr. Caye Smith, available in office 303, third floor of Nicholson Commons, and at (619) 849-2479.
The university will investigate all such complaints thoroughly, impartially, and promptly. The university will keep all complaints and the terms of their resolutions, according to the legal guidelines established under Title IX. If an investigation confirms harassment has occurred, the university will take corrective action, up to and including expulsion or termination.
In the case of sexual assault, contact the Department of Public Safety.
Any student who believes he or she has been victim of sexual harassment, including any type of violence or sexual misconduct, is urged to report the matter. Students who report the matter have certain rights under Title IX, as outlined below:
Right to Response
- You have the right to report a violation of the Title IX and Sexual Misconduct policy and have PLNU investigate what happened so your complaint is addressed promptly.
- You have the right to report the crime to the Department of Public Safety and/or to a law enforcement agency.
- You have the right to speak confidentially to a Wellness Center clinician or Campus Pastor.
- You have the right to seek or have sought on your behalf as soon as possible counseling and medical attention at the Wellness Center or elsewhere as needed including at the nearest emergency room.
- You have the right to request an advocate join you in attending appointments.
Right to Interim Measures
- You have the right to receive information about services designed to assist you.
- You have the right to request changes in your academic schedule and residence hall.
- You have the right to request the university implement a “no-contact” mandate with the alleged perpetrator.
- You have the right not to “work it out” with the alleged perpetrator through mediation. PLNU does not consider mediation to be appropriate in cases involving sexual violence.
Right to a Reliable Impartial Investigation and Disciplinary Proceeding
- You have the right to be notified simultaneously and in writing of the time frames for all major stages of the investigation.
- You have the right to present witnesses and evidence in support of your complaint.
- You have the right to review any proceedings documented, which may include written findings of fact, transcripts, or audio recordings.
- You have the right to be accompanied at all hearings by an advisor of your choice.
- PLNU must resolve your complaint based on what the university officials believe is more likely than not to have happened based upon an investigation. (This is called a preponderance-of-the-evidence standard of proof.) PLNU will not use a higher standard of proof.
- You have the right to be informed of the outcome of any student conduct proceeding held.
- You have the right to be notified in writing of the outcome of your complaint and any appeal, including any sanctions that directly relate to you.
- The appeal process is equally available for both parties.
- You have the right to recover your losses to the extent possible through restitution and the return of property seized as evidence when it is no longer needed.
Reporting Discrimination & Bias Incidents
It is the goal of PLNU to provide an environment that is 100% free of discriminatory acts and bias. If you witness or experience an incident that could be considered unfair, bias, or discriminatory, please contact the Chief Diversity Officer, Dr. Jeffrey Carr, at firstname.lastname@example.org, (619) 849-2484, or by visiting Room 306 in Nicholson Commons. You can also use the main institutional reporting method shown below to advise us of the incident.
If an employee becomes aware of a suspected violation, whether before or after it has occurred, they must promptly report it to their supervisor or senior management in accordance with such other relevant policies of PLNU as may be applicable. Alternately, anyone may report violations or suspected violations anonymously by using Silent Whistle (a third party company) by logging onto Silent Whistle and following the webpage prompts, or by calling the Silent Whistle Hotline at (877) 874-8416.
Links and Resources
It's On Us - To Stop Sexual Assault
Know Your IX - Empowering Students to Stop Sexual Violence
Not Alone - Together to Stop Sexual Assault
San Diego County Resources
911 - Emergency or Life-threatening Situations
PLNU Wellness Center
(Main Campus Undergraduate Students Only)
1st Floor of Nicholson Commons
Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Dean of Students
3rd Floor of Nicholson Commons
PLNU Department of Public Safety
San Diego Hospitals Providing Sexual Assault Services
Balboa Naval Medical
(Military Personnel and Military Dependents Only)
University Community Medical Center
Associate Dean of Bakersfield Regional Center