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September 1, 2016

Policy on sexual misconduct complaints finalized, posted

An updated sexual misconduct policy and related procedure for resolving sexual misconduct complaints have been finalized. The documents are posted at as University Policy 06-05-01 and Procedure 06-05-01.

Sexual misconduct (including sexual harassment and sexual violence) that affects the educational or employment environment is considered a form of sexual discrimination. Pitt’s response falls under the purview of the Title IX office.

Title IX coordinator Katie Pope said her office is working this fall to get the University community acclimated to the new policy, which she said “puts emphasis on working with the Title IX office when complaints come in.”

Individuals who experience sexual misconduct are encouraged to report it to the Title IX office.

“It’s not a scary process,” Pope said. “The individual drives the process as much as possible.”

The procedure document outlines the process and lists University and off-campus resources for the Pittsburgh campus and regional campus communities. Information also can be found on the Office of Sexual Harassment and Assault Response and Education (SHARE) site at

“Responsible employee” reporting requirements are a key part of the policy, Pope said. “Anyone who learns about sexual misconduct needs to let the Title IX office know about it,” she said.

New faculty and staff must complete online sexual harassment training during their probationary period. The policy also calls for additional sexual harassment prevention and response training every four years.

Pope said her office is working with Human Resources and the Office of the Provost to pilot school-by-school training to ensure that all employees receive the required training within that time frame.

Responsible employee training sessions have been scheduled for 10 a.m. Sept. 7 and 2 p.m. Oct 3 in 342 Craig Hall (registration: Additional training sessions will be linked on the Title IX site.


The administration approved the updated policy and procedure following review by the Council of Deans and University Senate last spring. (See May 12 University Times.)

Laurie J. Kirsch, vice provost for faculty affairs, development and diversity, chaired a provost’s ad hoc committee that recommended revisions earlier this year, following a yearlong review of Pitt’s previous policy. The committee also developed the separate procedure document that spells out options for reporting misconduct as well as for filing, investigating, resolving and appealing complaints.

The provost’s committee is continuing its work, turning now to University policy on consensual relationships. The University’s current policy (Policy 02-04-03) pertains to faculty-student relationships.

—Kimberly K. Barlow 

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